When strategic planning, a SWOT helps you define your business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. A useful tool you can use to assess the environment you’re competing in is called the SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. And typically, it’s drawn on a grid. For strengths and weaknesses, those are typically within your own organization, capabilities you have or don’t have. As far as opportunities and threats, they can either be internal or external market-facing opportunities and threats. So let me walk through an example. As you build a SWOT analysis, you’ll want to have the team together and have people throw out their ideas. And it’s generally a brainstorming session.
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As customers’ needs become more diverse, the managers of the future must adapt to meet their demands. Today’s post is by Jonathan Byrnes, author of CHOOSE YOUR CUSTOMER: How to Compete Against the Digital Giants and Thrive (CLICK HERE to get your copy). Managing at the right level is the most important element in effective management in the Age of Diverse Markets. This is a huge change. In the prior mass markets era, companies had homogeneous markets, so they needed to plan and coordinate only at the executive level, with the rest of the company’s managers focusing on their respective functional specialties. Today’s markets are rapidly becoming highly fragmented, reflecting diverse customer needs. This requires a much more decentralized set of management structures and processes, which strongly affects managers at all levels of a company’s organization.
Identify your organization’s major threats and opportunities by assessing these five aspects of your market. As you begin your strategic planning process, it’s important to assess the market you’re competing in. A classic tool for doing so is Porter’s five forces. Dr. Michael Porter, who’s a professor of strategy, came up with this set of five forces to evaluate all the different dynamics that can affect your organization.
Avoid these three behaviors to improve your next brainstorming session. Today’s post is by Samuel Sanders, author of Your Next Big Idea (CLICK HERE to get your copy). We’ve all heard of brainstorming, but what exactly is it? In a business sense, brainstorming is the process of coming up with creative ideas and solutions to problems using rapid freethinking. Brainstorming is critical in problem solving, creativity, ideation, and innovation. While in business, many imagine brainstorming as a group activity; it can be done alone or in a group. There are many tips and tricks that can help you have more effective brainstorms. However, there are three unique counterintuitive tips that many ignore. Following these tips can take your brainstorms to the next level. The first tip is, “During a brainstorm, do not use cell phones, computers, or tablets.” This is a tough ask for everyone. We take our laptops and phones with us almost everywhere we go. Many of us are addicted to our devices. You may even be wondering, what if I come up with an idea but need to look something up? Don’t. Write down everything that you want to find out more information on in a list during the brainstorm. Then after, look it up. Staring at a device or looking something up will distract your train of thought. It is better to minimize the distractions and get out all of your ideas before bringing devices into the process. The second tip is, “Always add to ideas, don’t edit or compare ideas.” Often when we hear a new idea, our first thought is to analyze whether the idea would work. In brainstorming, that is counterproductive. The goal of brainstorming is to get as many possible ideas out there, not edit and start checking the viability of ideas. […]
Learning how to build goals from the bottom up connects individuals to the broader mission. In addition to building your goals from the top-down, a useful exercise is to build goals from the bottom-up. It helps get team buy-in and it can identify new opportunities for upside. For bottom-up goals, start with what the team thinks they can commit to. What they can deliver. Ask them what they can stretch to. Then work from those individual drivers, those individual goals, up to the bigger metrics that matter for the organization. If you have an organization that’s trying to drive sales and you have a team full of sales reps, you may look at the individual bottom-up goals of number of calls that they’re going to make in an hour. Those then roll up to the number of calls that they’re able to connect on in an hour, which rolls up to a broader goal of the number of pitches that they’re making to customers, and a goal above that of how many pitches are being accepted by the customer. That can tie to a bigger goal of the number of contracts sent and pricing being achieved, a bigger goal of number of contracts being closed, and ultimately, end up in the big organizational goal of how much revenue is being generated. Working from the bottom-up ties the individual to the broader mission. In terms of identifying new opportunities, I found this out firsthand. I had a team where I went to all my team members and I asked them for their profit goal for the year. One team came back to me with five times what I would have expected. I would have given them a goal of say, $5 million. And they came back and said, we’re going to get you 25. I was shocked and I asked them, where did you get this? They showed me they had found a huge […]
Finding a mentor who has experience in your field can be a transformative step in your career. Today’s post is by Harma Hartouni, author of Getting Back Up: A Story of Resilience, Self-Acceptance and Success (CLICK HERE to get your copy). I was born in the U.S. but raised in Iran from the time I was an infant. As a gay man in an extremely homophobic country like Iran, there was no way for me to thrive while being honest about who I was. When I was 18 years old, a horrific car accident broke both of my legs and left me unable to walk for a year as I recovered. Afterward, I packed up everything and moved to the U.S., determined to create a better life and find success as my authentic self. As a Middle Eastern man who didn’t speak English, I was certainly at a disadvantage when I came to this country. But I found success through diligence, investment in myself, and a strong belief in the value of mentorship.