A Fundamental Element of Strategic Planning
By Dana Baldwin, Senior Consultant
Listing of a company’s strengths and weaknesses is 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 second article in the series.
Think about the relationship between strengths and weaknesses. Almost all strengths have off-setting weaknesses of some kind. By correcting the weakness, we may lessen the strength or eliminate it altogether.
For example, Shaquille O’Neal has one of the most powerful bodies ever to play the game of basketball. He is a mountain of a man, 7′- 2″ tall, weighing about 340 pounds, with tremendous muscle mass. His game is pure power. He has little finesse, which is not a criticism. His weakness, however, is his relative lack of speed. If he were to try to defend against a guard playing 25 feet from the basket, the guard would likely be able to dribble the ball around Shaq and drive to the basket easily. If Shaq wanted to increase his quickness and speed – overcome his apparent weakness – he would have to slim down, probably to less than 250 pounds. While he would likely be much quicker afoot, what strengths he currently has would be lost in the process? At 250 pounds, he would be easily pushed around by other, now heavier, stronger centers. In short, he would lose the strengths that make him one of the premier players in the world by correcting a perceived weakness. The conclusion from this is that your team must be very careful to differentiate between weaknesses which must be corrected, and those which are the natural off-shoots of the strengths on which you are building your business.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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