The film shows Brad Pitt being born as an old man and living his life growing younger. He relates events which for him had already happened. Now imagine you, as an organization, are standing at the end of a long time line - you have already achieved your strategy. Imagine, how did you do it? What actions did you take? What resources did you secure and how you deployed them? Which products/markets/segments did you serve? How did you secure finance? What was the reaction of the market & shareholders? And many such questions depending on the industry.
Ask these questions in a stepwise fashion starting from the end. What was the last significant thing you had to do just before reaching the goal. Put that on your timeline. And just before that, what did you have to do? And just before that? And so on, moving closer and closer in time, right up until the present.
Working backwards from the realization of the goal, you have developed a timeline, complete with milestones & contingency planning- working from your collected knowledge and scenario creation, but not necessarily from your conscious mind. The Method can be a way to generate set of tactical actions to realize your business strategy. (Sounds too easy in the writing, but offcourse in real life, there will be lots of other things involved. Especially in case of corporate strategy, if an operational planning exercise is being done, then there will be lots of scenarios & games being played between country/functional BU 's and the corporate office.)
For a reality check, think it through forwards. If you add the necessary resources, skills, and knowledge, take each action in turn, and reach each milestone, is that likely to produce the results you intend to produce? (Biblio Paul Lemberg)
Does that mean that Strategists need to be prophets? Offcourse not:- No one can predict the future. ( This reminds me of one of my 'unpublished' posts: "What the heck is strategy?" Soon to be finished and posted). But an organization can start from the place where it wants to be and systematically work backwards to the place where it is. Afterall, that's one of the things a strategist does: Bringing structured thinking in the top tier of an organization.