death to SWOT!

The Better Set of Questions to Lead to a Good Strategic Plan

Why swat down SWOT? Because it’s old, it’s tired, it’s simplistic, it’s overused, and it’s not the best path to a good strategic plan for an organization. Psychologically, it feels good (We have Strengths! We have Opportunities!), and feels astute (hm … we have Weaknesses. We have Threats. We’re being real!).

Better than assessing strengths and weaknesses is to assess the organization’s place in the community, in the nation, in the world, and in the competitive marketplace. It’s better to ask, or revisit, the question of, “Who are we?” Then – “What are we trying to do?” and “How are we doing?” Those questions, if dealt with rightly, can feed directly and powerfully into a good strategic plan. That’s why I use them in the Jaffarian Framework for Strategic Planning. At one level, they seem simple, but they can carry a lot of freight. If you’d like to know more on this, ask.

The threats/opportunities part is better handled by the question, “What’s happening in our context we need to be alert to?,” Which is the sixth question in the Jaffarian Framework. Contextual realities don’t necessarily sort out to positive or negative. Most (all?) are a mix of the two, requiring a sophisticated response.

love, joy, peace … Michael Michael is a freelance consultant to nonprofits, with an emphasis on research. Contact him for a free, one-hour consultation.

Vol. 1 No. 6

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