Last week I covered why I’m not a fan of the “SWOT Analysis” – the four arbitrary lists of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that often pass for so-called strategy.
So what’s the alternative?
Think of three landscapes: 1) the industry landscape, 2) the macro landscape, and 3) the internal landscape. The industry landscape takes into account market segments and dynamics, customers and prospective customers, competitors and prospective competitors, and suppliers. The internal landscape reflects the state of your offerings, people, processes, structure, assets and financials. The macro landscape considers the social, technological, economic, environmental and political factors that can influence the other landscapes.
A three landscapes approach beats a SWOT analysis because: 1) it provides meaningful context for analysis, 2) the landscapes are researched, conclusions drawn and implications identified prior to the strategy meeting, and 3) the implications are then subject to validation, and relevant strategic options are identified, evaluated, prioritized and decided upon.
The result: context-driven strategy based on research, validation and prioritization.