Scenario Planning for Growth: Featuring Gideon Malherbe

Scenario Planning for Growth: Featuring Gideon Malherbe

If you’re fortunate, your career will enable you to travel to memorable places, work on interesting projects, and meet unique people. I’ve always felt fortunate when these opportunities arise. Recently, I had the chance to meet yet another unique person – Gideon Malherbe, founding partner of Virtual Consulting International (VCI).

Gideon’s specialty is scenario planning. Scenario planning goes well beyond traditional strategic planning. It endeavors to identify potential futures and create contingencies (and plans) to mitigate uncertainty. Some of the core areas of uncertainty that Gideon’s practice focuses on mapping include:

  • Geopolitical
  • Economic
  • Technological
  • Environmental, Social, & Corporate Governance (ESG)
  • Web 3.0

I recently had the privilege of spending several days with Gideon while he shared his expertise with several of the Vistage groups I work with. During our time together he upended conventional notions about how to think about business, challenged leaders to rethink the linear narrative that we have all been raised with (and have internalized), and opened the door to a future world of possibilities that is closer than many believe.

After our session, I asked Gideon to share what he wants everyone to know about scenario planning and the rapidly approaching future. Watch our brief interview, or read the transcript of our conversation below.

After you finish, ask yourself: “What work am I doing today to take me out of the present and prepare my organization for tomorrow?”

If you need help answering that question, drop me or Gideon a line. We’re always interested in a conversation about what’s next.


Chad Harvey (00:05): Hey, everybody, Chad Harvey here with Gideon Malherbe, scenario planning expert. Gideon, you just wrapped the second session with one of the Vistage groups I work with. Too much to unpack in under two minutes here based on the last six hours we spent together. What are some of the biggest considerations and things that you’d like people to be thinking about when we talk about scenario planning?

Gideon Malherbe (00:28): I think probably the most important one is to have multiple futures, is to break out of linear thinking. So, intellectually, that is really the biggest play that we can encourage people to do. If you then look at the outside world or the macro world, then obviously we need to consider the economy and where it’s going in the next few years. It’s not a simple story. It’s not just we’re going to go grow on forever. They should in their planning look at that first and foremost of all.

Gideon Malherbe (00:56): Then we have the two further or bigger rise in plays, and the one being ESG or environmental, social, and governance issues, is not to underestimate the impact, both economic and socially, of ESG on the American economy and even further than that. Critical element to think and then the third element that we should bring in every plan is the evolution and development of the Web 3.0 cryptocurrency blockchain alternative universe world.

Chad Harvey (01:29): Yet it all starts with breaking out of linear thinking, which we are hardwired to do as humans.

Gideon Malherbe (01:34): That’s it. I was educated and brought up in a value set that says linearity is good. Stick to the plan, work hard, keep your hair down. We were educated like that, it’s this simple linear solutions to everything. And most of all is that the world is actually structured and we have to live within that structure. Currently, that’s the opposite of what’s going on, on the planet.

Chad Harvey (02:01): Fantastic insight and advice, Gideon. It has been a pleasure.

Gideon Malherbe (02:04): Thank you.

Chad Harvey (02:04): Thank you.

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