‘The Problem For SWOTS’

The problem with a SWOT analysis – everybody knows about SWOT – is that very few people know the context in which to use it.

I attended a strategy day hosted by a public sector organisation in Cornwall.

It is quite common to allocate a day to strategy development.  Over the years, you may have been to a few.

This just happens to be one to remember because there must have been forty people in the room.

Forty people spent a day analysing the past without any regard for the key factors that would make their business successful going forward.

This too is quite common.

You see, SWOT works as a tool in service to the future (or the direction of travel for your enterprise) not the journey so far.

Take your own business, for example.  Your internal strengths and weakness have actionable value related to your direction of travel, not where you have been.

Try it, please.

My own business has many internal strengths and weaknesses, many external opportunities and threats.  However, they only have meaning when set against the power structures of my industry and a calculated value proposition in a prevailing wind.

You see, I cannot compete directly with the big management consultancy players and their resources.  We therefore invest in our unique capability, which - by deliberate design - creates value in a fraction of the time.

Time is money.

When five days can save you five years that is a lot of time and a lot of money.  The risk to capital employed reduces significantly and the senior team get a few more early nights, a few less meetings and a stronger cash flow.

Sound attractive?

Our bet – and strategy is a bet – is on subjective yet scientific knowhow not yet available through conventional channels.

I am sure that the market will hijack the language of subjectivity at some point.

Take neuroscience for example.  It is a bit like SWOT. Everyone knows the word, but … how to use it?

‘The Problem For SWOTS’ is the subject of the next Temple Quarter Breakfast.


Best wishes


PS Your clients will thank you for this piece of know-how.  Organisational value crystalizes from this simple shift in perception … honest!)