People make a lot of the SWOT analysis in strategic planning. As a rudimentary approach to thinking about strategy, the SWOT works pretty well. Decades of experience has shown us that great strategy requires much more focus on strengths and opportunities.
There is so much more to great strategy than a simple SWOT analysis. Sure, it’s a great buzzword, but I’d much rather see a strategic plan built around the strategic competency work of C.K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel. Why? There are three main reasons. First, the SWOT methodology creates unnecessary friction around the weaknesses and threats. Second, SWOT-based strategies seldom push the management team hard enough on creating truly distinctive competitive advantage. And third, there has been little, if any, effort put into making the SWOT analysis more data-based (by most practitioners).
So why not just toss out your old SWOT analysis if your strategic planning isn’t working for you this year? I think this is a darn good question.