Over the next couple of days I want to share with you two strategic planning tools I found invaluable with my work. Today, we will look at the first took - the SWOT.
The first time I saw the SWOT was 1992 and it was part of a board and organizational retreat for an organization I worked for. We were tasked with developing the strategic plan for the next 5 years of the business and the SWOT was introduced as an important part of the process of getting clear on both the internal context of the organization, as well as the external context.
The SWOT is a foundational strategic planning tool and can be used at an offsite, or even in the context of a team meeting. At the top we have two quadrants - S for Strengths (those internal skills, strengths and talents which exist in the team or organization), and W for Weaknesses (those internal weak areas which might get the team, or organization, into trouble).
If you are considering using this as a tool, have the group (or a subset of the group) brainstorm and list out the internal Strengths and Weaknesses of the team.
The bottom part of the matrix gets you to list, and explore, the EXTERNAL environment- those being the Opportunities (O) - external factors which are working in favor and T - Threats - internal factors which might derail the business or team.
Again, have the team identify things in the external environment which may be opportunities (new collaborations, new client bases, technology) or Threats (New taxes etc),
Author of From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013) and Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
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