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Preparing for a Turbulent 2024



As we begin to really power into 2024, it has become clear that a growing number of experts have serious concerns for political and social stability in America over the next eighteen months.  A variety of long run trends across the STEEP categories are interacting with recent events to generate a range of concerning emerging issues for the near-term future.  From national security to faith in our political processes, the number of pressures mounting against our institutions and systems is concerning. 

 

In this context, it was interesting to see a recent article explaining that CEOs of major companies now view disruption and instability as the new norm.  Researchers have been suggesting this would come for years, so it is somewhat noteworthy to see mainstream figures acknowledging that this is the new reality.

 

So, what kinds of issues are concerning folks this election year?  Domestically, the political landscape is extremely polarized and tribal.  The election itself is likely to engender increasingly passionate responses, and the outcome to be contested no matter the result.  This amidst an increasingly vocal ideology that asserts America is unworthy and irredeemable, which predictably prompts an increasingly vocal counter reaction.  Globally, this year will present an opportunity for foreign actors to further fan American divisions and to take advantage of domestic distraction to pursue their interests around the world.  For any adversary or opportunist (foreign or domestic) who hopes to undermine the United States in any way, this year likely presents a very attractive opportunity to gain asymmetric returns.

 

VFS has never been a true doom-and-gloom shop, and yet given these concerns, we do think it is prudent for leaders to spend some time with their teams this year thinking through a range of potential contingencies.  Any of the following situations might logically emerge from the context described above.

 

  • New supply chain disruptions

  • Greater volatility and challenges in the information environment

  • Increased cyber threats and events

  • Adversarial disruptions to infrastructure

  • Serious political unrest and violent demonstrations

  • Terrorist attacks within the US

 

Walk your team through these contingencies, asking, what would they mean for your organization?  What would they mean for your customers?  What would they mean for your vendors and partners?  How would governments react in ways that might impact you or your stakeholders?

 

Real value can be gained by even informal discussions about these contingencies. 

 

A little bit of foresight can produce a lot of preparedness.

 

As always, reach out to us to set up time for us to assist your team with these conversations.

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