Monday, April 27, 2015


If you're like me, you're frustrated with the routine and mundane SWOT analysis--Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats--used for strategic planning. It's fine as a framework but not with a group. Comparable to other brainstorming faults, SWOT generates the ambiguous, over-arching and unhelpful comments that rarely lead to innovative strategies. A group will play it safe or be so general that it's difficult to determine any new direction. I've seen groups give the same sorts of comments you hear in hiring interviews: 'our only weakness is that we try to be all things to all customers'; 'if the government threatens our R-and-D tax credit, then we'll be up the creek'; 'we have an opportunity to really shine through strong customer relationships' and so on.

I suggest following the EDGE framework: Execution, Diminishing, Gaining, Employees.

  • Execution: what drives our customers to do business with us? What competitive advantage do we have? How agile are we in terms of pricing, quality, delivery, service and technology offerings?
  • Diminishing: what competitors have disappeared or are losing market share? Why? How are we like them?
  • Gaining: what competitors are emerging or gaining market share? Why? How are we like them?
  • Employees because no matter what business we're in, we're in the people business: What areas are aligned well or misaligned? Where do we have high engagement or conversely lots of turnover or poor execution? Where do we experience dysfunction, disconnect, and chaos? What parts of our corporate culture help us or hinder us?
Have data to back up the answers, such as market reports, performance metrics, etc. Don't rely on one or two anecdotes.

No comments:

Post a Comment