Never underestimate basic information! I thought a post on “the most tired of strategy tools” (thanks to reader Gene) would be ho-hum to people who read my blog. And yet, in 24 hours, Organising Information: The SWOT Analysis generated the highest number of hits and the most comments. Here’s the three most common points:
1. More Questions. To the list of questions of Strengths/Weaknesses and Opportunities/Threats, add these three questions (all variations on the same theme): “So what?”, “Who cares?”, “Yes, and?” Anyone who’s developed a SWOT knows it’s easy to dive so deeply into the research that objectivity can float away. These questions help ensure your team is being honest, objective and realistic. (Thanks Paul, Lesley and Ed.)
2. The SWOT as an Evaluative Tool. Finish the SWOT Analysis by turning key “tasks” into action steps – either by developing a strategy or (even better) a tactic. A simplified SWOT Analysis is a good evaluative tool to determine the quality of the best strategies or ideas. (Thanks Andy G., Marian and Suzanne.)
3. Action Plan Ingredients. Action plans are typically comprised of several elements. (Thanks Jaroslav and Berrit.)
- What are the next steps?
- Who is responsible? Also, do we need to bring in others? Who and when?
- What resources are needed? In particular, what’s the budget?
- What’s the timeline?
- What are the deliverables?
Another tool you might consider to organise information is the Force Field Analysis.