I’ve recently facilitated a very brief SWOT workshop with a team of about 12 people or so. I generally am not a fan of SWOT – generates long lists of passive “mother hood and apple pie statements” rather than seeking out an activity based perspective on where real strategic advantage may lie. I have tho’ used SWOT analysis as a useful tool in analysing lessons learned in projects (what does this critical incident suggest about our strengths and weakness and thus what are the key opportunities and threats in terms of the next stage of the project – not correct use of the tool but it works for me).

For this workshop, I incorporated a few aspects of the Journey Making approach to strategy – focus on action statements and exploring the linkages between strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats inter-relate using causal mapping. It was obviously a bit different for most of the participants but most fully engaged in the processes and explored the relations in depth. Challenging some of the preconceived notion of what they were good at was less successful given the time frame allowed. Bringing all the group’s thoughts together into a rough plan of action was also impossible in the time frame.

But the group learning from the process seemed to be positive and it will be interesting to see if the group adopt a more strategically focused perspective on their work and can apply that thinking to day-to-day activities.