By Todd Davidson, State Policy Network’s Senior Director of Strategic Development
Preparing for a legislative
session before knowing election outcomes, or the preferences of the newly
elected, can be very difficult and may seem pointless. Why craft a detailed
plan only to throw it out? At the same time, if we don’t plan, we’ll be caught
flat-footed as the competition races ahead of us.
Fortunately, there is a flexible planning method for these situations called “scenario planning,” in which you devise possible scenarios and craft a loose plan for each. Doing so will speed up your post-election planning and put you ahead of the competition. You can do it in three easy steps.
This is your starting position—what your team seeks to achieve right now.
Who will the governor be and what will the majorities and factions be in the House and Senate? How could your state courts change? What are possible outcomes of ballot measures? Will there be social unrest?
The level of detail in scenarios is
more art than science. It can help to start with broad scenarios first. If
those scenarios are unhelpful to your decisions, narrow them down and be more
specific. Avoid trying to predict the exact outcomes. The intent is to increase
your plans’ flexibility regardless of the outcome, so use a bit of judgement to
identify a range of likely outcomes.
Ask yourself the questions below to consider how the strategy for achieving your goals changes in each scenario.
Goal: ESA reform for 5,000 kids becomes law by the end of 2021.
The point is not to craft detailed plans, it is to help you react quicker as you get more information. The sketched plan will act as a starting point after the election results are finalized. Ask yourself:
For now, that’s pretty much it. With your sketched plans ready to go, you’ll be in a better position to react after you know the final results.
Best of luck this year, and please reach out if you have any questions or would like help with scenario planning.