©2019 by Richard M. Adler

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Upcoming Events

Association for Strategic Planning Annual Conference (ASP 2020)

Strategy & Technology: Harnessing Disruption, Transformation, and Innovation

Whistler, British Columbia.

May 1315, 2020

Note: this conference has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizers

are considering a virtual conference for later in the year. Updates to follow.

“Test Drive Your Critical Decisions”  (a 3-hour master class)

Wednesday May 13, 2020.   9:30–12:30 am (pre-conference day)

For registration information, please visit: 


Class Description


Why do so many critical business decisions go awry? And what can leaders do to improve decision quality and outcomes? In this class, I will answer the first question using the Law of Unintended Consequences (LUC), which states that attempts to intervene in complex situations tend to produce unexpected and often unpleasant consequences. I will explain the primary causes of LUC— cognitive biases and bounded rationality—and how they wreak havoc. Next, I will answer the second question by presenting a method for “bending” LUC called a decision “test drive.” This method combines scenario planning and “what-if” simulations to help leaders practice critical decisions and learn safely from virtual rather than real mistakes—helping businesses improve their anticipation of the future and reduce the frequency and severity of unintended consequences. Finally, I will illustrate this method in action by presenting a test drive solution for strategies to manage organizational change. Test driving change strategies is crucial because disruptive business decisions often fail not because they are unsound, but rather because companies don’t adapt and embrace the internal changes those decisions entail.