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What's Strategic Planning Anyway?

Strategic planning concerns anything that will bring results in anything from 1 year to 5 years or beyond. Its good management practice to raise your head above the daily grind every now and then, and take action now to positively affect your future.

by Lyndsay Swinton
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Strategic planning concerns anything that will bring results in anything from 1 year to 5 years or beyond. It’s good management practice to raise your head above the daily grind every now and then, and take action now to positively affect your future.

Definition of SWOT
S = Strengths
W = Weaknesses
O = Opportunities
T = Threats

Regardless of whether you or your team are future planning for specific products, work, personal or any other area, the SWOT analysis process is the same.

Step 1: In the here and now
List all strengths that exist now. Then in turn, list all weaknesses that exist now. Be realistic but avoid modesty!

Step 2: What might be
List all opportunities that exist in the future. Opportunities are potential future strengths. Then in turn, list all threats that exist in the future. Threats are potential future weaknesses.

Step 3: Plan of action
Review your SWOT matrix with a view to creating an action plan to address each of the four areas. In summary:

  • Strengths need to be maintained, built upon or leveraged.
  • Weaknesses need to be remedied or stopped.
  • Opportunities need to be prioritised and optimised.
  • Threats need to be countered or minimised.