As 2010 draws to an end, what are you doing to capitalize on the things you did well this year? Perhaps even more importantly what are you going to do to ensure you don’t repeat the same mistakes? If you are a leader looking to continually make forward progress, now is a great time to examine your very own and your organization’s own Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. (also known as a SWOT analysis)
If you have ever been involved in one of the Contagious Companies’ Strategic Planning sessions, you’ve found this examination of these four elements to be an essential piece of not only where we begin, but what action item you choose to take going forward into the new month or year or chapter of your business.
If you have a group you wish to walk through a Strategic Planning session, here is an 11 step process to present the information, create buy in and improve retention of the data, as well as the action taken as a result.
- Share with the group the purpose of conducting this SWOT analysis.
- Write Strengths, Weaknesses, Threats, and Opportunities on one of each of four flip chart pages.
- Ask the group to contribute to the list and write down what they tell you are each of these items.
- Post all four flip charts in different points around the room.
- Instruct each member of the group to grab a marker or pen and find their way to one of the four flip charts, so that you have about an equal number placed at each of the charts.
- Ask them to provide solutions to each.
- Explain what to write on each chart. For example: If they are standing at the strengths chart, have them record how you can maintain those strengths. if they are standing at the weaknesses chart, how do we reduce the impact of those. At the threats chart, how do we eliminate those things as a threat. At the opportunities chart, how do we take advantage of those to make them possible strengths?
- Give them a few moments to record their answers and then ask them all to switch and move to another chart.
- Continue this process until each group has been to each chart
- After writing on their “last chart” then ask the group to back to each chart in reverse order and record the number one solution or action item from each. The group must come to consensus on what is the number one solution.
- Then have each group report out their “#1 Solutions”
In Strategic Planning one of the dangers is trying to take on too much. This way, you reduce the number of actions items that may not get accomplished and are able to spend time on those most important to the group and those that are likely to have the greatest positive impact once resolved, worked through, and accomplished. Congratulations! You will have achieved buy in, momentum, ownership, and likely forward progress!