David Klubes Describes How Red Cells Shed Light on Blindspots in the Strategic Planning Process
"Most executives -- in the public and private sector -- tend to focus on the most likely and logical series of events over time. As a result, they erect blinders that prevent basic consideration of how unlikely developments can affect operations."
"But that should not stop leaders from putting in place an analytical structure that tests the strength behind the underlying assumptions of a strategic plan. In an increasingly complex, interconnected world where seemingly minor actors and events can create disproportionate risk, successful strategic planning is more challenging than ever," he says.
That is where Red Cells come in.
Red Cells -- also known as Red Cell Teams -- are made up of interdisciplinary experts that engage in focused alternative analysis in order to help organizations break from intellectual ruts and blindspots that often accrue over time. Their mission is not just to think about the future, but to highlight the potential for unlikely events to derail -- or enhance -- an organization's position.
"Red Cell analysis challenges conventional wisdom to provide new perspectives on issues. Expertly done, it systematically probes beliefs and questions assumptions by applying skepticism and creativity in a structured manner. Red Cells explore how things may be different than perceived and how things may turn out differently than expected. It provides a basis for understanding the impact of both," says Klubes.
Used regularly, Red Cell analysis will help push organizations out of the ruts that inexorably develop as strategies and plans are developed and implemented. While the harsh questioning and seemingly odd ideas generated by Red Cells can be disconcerting at first, organizations soon learn to appreciate the value of Red Cell analysis – and the benefits it provides.
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