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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SWOT Analysis - Scanning Methods

In the most recent Harvard Business School Working Knowledge issue, the authors of Peripheral Vision: Detecting the Weak Signals that Will Make or Break Your Company offer this advise about Scanning for Threats and Opportunities.

Their premise?

  • All managers scan, but they often do so passively.
  • To see more of the periphery, an organization has to change how it scans.
  • There is a portfolio of scanning methods to capture and amplify the weak signals within targeted zones of the periphery: inside the firm; customers and channels; the competitive space (competitors and complementors); technologies, political, social, and economic forces; and influencers and shapers.

BOTTOMLINE: "To improve the ability to capture the peripheral insights within the organization, there must be (1) appropriate and visible channels for sharing information, (2) wide knowledge of the questions guiding the scan, and (3) incentives for actually sharing useful information. People must engage in frequent and free dialogue for the necessary connections to occur spontaneously. This, in turn, requires a culture of trust, respect, and curiosity, plus the recognition that information sharing is crucial. Too many companies still operate in a mode where information is shared on a "need-to-know" basis only."

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