The SWOT analysis is a well-known and highly valuable tool for strategic planning.
- Strengths – What do we do better than others?
- Weaknesses – What could we improve (or what should we avoid)?
- Opportunities – What new ideas deserve to be explored?
- Threats – What challenges may interfere with our plans?
To understand what’s “internal” to our organizations, we study the assessment of our own strengths & weaknesses. The examination of opportunities & threats reveals the “external” environment in which our organizations exist.
Yet, I’ve found that there are four additional questions that deserve to be asked whenever undertaking a SWOT analysis:
- What is Sacred? – Strategic planning has the potential to be wildly creative and bold. But before we talk about any of that, what should be considered to be sacred and unchangeable?
- What would be Wonderful? – What is something we might accomplish that would bring significant value to our audiences, stakeholders and community?
- What are we Over? What beliefs, practices or projects are we prepared to conclude, terminate, end and be done with?
- Who should be on our Team? – What other people, organizations and companies share our objectives and values? How might we involve them in our strategic planning process?
It’s helpful to think of these as the SECOND SWOT analysis – and they inspire us to see the world in less binary ways than traditional SWOT.
- Sacred – Reaffirms the essential core of an organization’s mission.
- Wonderful – Ignites the imagination for all that’s possible.
- Over – Creates the capacity needed to adjust and advance in new directions
- Team – Recognizes that the virtue of a strategic plan is not just its ideas, but also the ability to marshal the people and resources necessary to accomplish them.
The next time someone asks for a SWOT analysis, I invite you to “double down” with the Second SWOT. I bet you’ll find it especially valuable.
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