Why It‘s Time to Ban the SWOT from Your Next Retreat

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Does the
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities  and Threats (SWOT) technique deserve
it‘s accepted place in your next strategic planning retreat? Maybe not. There
are more precise ways to understand the current state of the business that take
less time and use more facts.

My recommendation:
If you are leading your organization‘s next planning exercise, lift things up a
notch by omitting the SWOT activity from the agenda. There are three reasons
why this list-making activity needs to be transformed.

1. It’s just an
opinion survey

When people cough
up strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they are merely offering
opinions. While there are facts sitting in the background somewhere, the truth
is that the exercise is based on opposable points of view, even allowing items
to show up in multiple lists. For example, a reality such as “We have five
employees” could fit into any of the four categories, construing it as either a
“pro” or a “con”.