A Fundamental Element of Strategic Planning
By Dana Baldwin, Senior Consultant
Listing of a company’s strengths and weaknesses are a normal part of any attempt at strategic planning for virtually all companies. Why do we perform these analyses, and what do we expect to learn by doing them? To be sure the company is headed in the right direction, a competent, thoughtful review and updating of your strengths and weaknesses is a fundamental element of good strategic planning. We will publish a series of articles with elements of analysis of strengths and weaknesses explored in each article. This is the third article.
Third: Your team must be very careful to be objective in its analyses. It is easy to get into a self-critical mode in which everything is a weakness, or, conversely, the team may lead itself into a rosy scenario in which its strengths are overstated and weaknesses understated. In every session, it is a positive idea to have an experienced process leader with no vested interest in the process beyond assuring that the right things are addressed, that conclusions are reached objectively and every effort is made to assure the financial, physical and human assets of the company are used to obtain the highest and best results for the company. We have found that some companies are too introspective, and in looking out at the real world, think that they are the only ones with problems and challenges. Others are just the opposite. They go blithely along, thinking that they are doing very well, with little consideration of what is happening in the real world. Your leader’s job is to assure that the team’s approach is fair, balanced and objective, so each analysis obtains the best, real world result.
What areas of the company should be addressed? While this varies within each company depending on what the company does and how it operates, generally, the team should look at the overall company strengths and weaknesses as well as the strengths and weaknesses of key areas within the company. It is important to look at how each area interacts with the customer world, both inside and outside the company, as well as analyzing the entity as a whole. Recognize that it may well happen that some areas have different strengths or weaknesses when examined individually, but the company performance may be totally different when viewed as an integrated unit.
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M. Dana Baldwin is a Senior Consultant with Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, Inc. He can be reached by email at: email@example.com
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