Scenario Planning Template

With scenario planning, you imagine several potential outcomes for your plan and also note multiple signals that would indicate an outcome is forthcoming. For instance, if you’re investing in the stock market, you may look out three, five, and ten years and imagine all the major events that could affect it:

  • A bull or bear economy
  • Peace or war
  • A global-friendly administration or a more nationalist/isolationist one

Then ask yourself which signals you could count on to accurately predict which of these outcomes is imminent (for example, when you see the Dow Jones move to a certain level, or realize that polls about an isolationist presidential candidate winning the next election have a lot of solid data backing them up, that’s the feedback you use to manage investments to your advantage). To the average person listening to the news, stories about the stock market or election are just noise. To you, they’re useful feedback in the context of your goal.

The document below is an example of a very basic scenario planning document we created for you when the coronavirus first hit, back in the spring of 2020. For example, below are some scenarios that we were thinking about at that time:

  • Positive Scenarios
    • We get back to normal quickly: we develop and scale a vaccine or some sort of treatment, businesses reopen, the government bails out those who are impacted, and people have money.
    • As a society, we get back to better-than-normal, so the virus catalyzes many beneficial changes. We can already see corrections we've made individually, at the government level, and at the level of organizations that have already made things better.
  • Worst-Case Scenarios: We enter a great depression, millions of people die, tens of millions of people have permanent lung damage, the virus mutates into something worse. (This is actually what happened with the Spanish flu in 1918; it came in three waves, and the second wave got a lot worse because people got tired of all the precautions and social distancing, so they didn't take it as seriously.) There's a possibility that reinfection is possible, or that civic unrest foments. We don’t want to over-focus on these scenarios, but it makes sense to be aware of them.

We were not trying to predict the future. There will always be unexpected events, but having these scenarios laid out helps us be more prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally.

You can use the document in a few ways:

  • As a template for your own goal or event-based scenario planning (just make your own copy of the document by clicking File > Make a copy in the top left corner)
  • As an example of how you could break it down
  • As an interesting peak back into how we were thinking about it back then.

Access The Template On The Link Below