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Thursday, October 26, 2006

SWOT Analysis Revisited

One of the most important elements of strategic planning is the facilitated session during which you guide participants through an exploration of their own experiences and knowledge about the issues at stake.

If your organization has a well-defined strategy, this process is relatively simple. What measures will support achieving the strategy? Define these from each of the four quadrants, and the resulting set of measures will become your "balanced scorecard."

The problem is that many organizations don't have a well-defined strategy. Some never get around to doing strategic planning at all. In that kind of organization, developing a balanced scorecard will prove challenging. Even when there's an existing strategy, it's often the result of "group think" or has little connection to the organization's practical requirements.

During these sessions, you'll want to guide the participants through a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis specifically focused on their functional areas. For example, participants in the customer and marketplace group will examine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats through the eyes of their customers.

BOTTOMLINE: The resulting measures will seek to maximize strengths and opportunities, and minimize weaknesses and threats, as viewed through their customers' perceptions.

The full versions of these SWOT worksheets are available for download here.

(From Quality Digest, September 2005, Vol. 25, Issue 9)

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