This is an older quote from Matthew May from 2015. Ironically, he has stopped blogging and participates through social media networks,
a topic for another of my “still in draft” blog posts. But I wanted to get this quote up here as it is related to a longer piece I am writing about Facilitating in Complex Contexts. So here it is, food for thought today.
I used to be agnostic on SWOT. No longer. I’m violently against it as the starting point for strategy.
I now think it’s far better to think through various strategic choices, ask what would have to be true for those choices to be good ones, and explore those hypotheses through valid experiments, before ever locking and loading on a strategy. It’s creative and divergent thinking, which is the polar opposite of the convergent thinking that fuels planning and analysis.
The difference between divergent and convergent thinking is the difference between chess and checkers. Both games are played on the same board, both games have the same number of players. With checkers, though, you really don’t have much to think about, the players are all the same, and the moves are single, linear steps. Chess has far more kinds of players, far more possibilities and options to consider, including the competitive response to a single move. That’s why when you watch the chess masters play (not sure why you’d want to do that), the “action” is mostly invisible…they’re thinking about their choices and and the possible reactions to those choices.
If you want and need a new strategy, swat your SWOT. Forever.