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of every month. Review plan vs. actual results. Talk about why actual results are different from
what was planned — and they always will be — and what should be done about it. 7. Make sure that those review meetings happen. They have to be important. If you’re the owner,
operator, or manager, make sure you attend and manage those meetings. If the review meetings
fall apart, so will the plan. During my 20+ years as a business plan consultant and 10+ more years running a company, I’ve seen
many times how the SWOT is an icebreaker. It invites people to contribute. It gets people thinking
strategically, talking, sharing, and it turns a group of people into a team.
The SWOT also offers a good forum for opening up discussion. I’ve seen a SWOT discussion bring
up problems that needed upper management attention but might otherwise have remained hidden.
Middle managers don’t always like telling upper managers what’s wrong. Even in a healthy company
culture, that can be awkward. SWOT makes that easier.
For example, I once saw a 30-year-old software development manager suggest during a SWOT
meeting that one company weakness was the 50-year-old president messing with the software code
instead of leaving it to the full-time pros. I saw another SWOT meeting in which several managers
said ownership was unwilling to hold managers accountable for underperforming. HURDLE: THE BOOK 5.4 ON BUSINESS PLANNING It’s not magic. It’s just an easy-to-understand framework that invites anybody who cares about a
business to contribute.
Of course you have to manage a SWOT meeting well. Like any other meeting subject, SWOT can
degenerate into useless discussion. A SWOT meeting should focus on the SWOT agenda and avoid
unrelated side discussions. It should invite contributions without reprisals for negative comments. It’s
a variation on brainstorming, so contributions — as in suggested bullet points, suggested items on the
list — are all positive as long as they are well intentioned.
If you do that, you also get the beneﬁt...
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