Strategy and SWOT (Part 1 of 3)

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How to create a SWOT Plan?
  • How do I get my strategy accepted?
  • How to get my team to contribute to our strategy

At some point in your career, you're going to be asked to put together a strategy session for your organization. This is when most managers start to panic.

But take heart. Probably, your boss does not want you to set strategy for the whole organization. What she wants is for you to come up with a process to help the leadership team determine its strategy. And that's good, because most of us are unlikely to be imminently qualified to be setting strategy.

But how do you set up the process? There are a number of different ways, all of which have various merits. You'll likely ask around and some b-school grads will tell you all about Porter's Five Forces and Blue Ocean and Dear God one hopes Peter Drucker, and etc, etc. But as always, the question comes back to, "what do I do?" The answers you'll get to that question will include some mention of the SWOT Analysis, which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. While SWOT is NOT the complete process, it is a great start to getting a handle on where your organization is and where it might need to go.

In this cast, we'll tell you how to set up a basic SWOT session, the Manager Tools way.

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GREAT topic!!! Thank you guys,

GREAT topic!!! Thank you guys,

We just went over this concept in my

We just went over this concept in my Marketing class. I liked the concept as soon as I heard it, and now I like it even more.

Great subject and almost perfect

Great subject and almost perfect timing!
We are in the middle of a SWOT analysis at our local YMCA. Time is standing still while waiting to find out how to do it the MT way!
I hope that there will be a MT SWOT Tool in the future.


It is a pleasure being your student!

Catching up from having been gone for a

Catching up from having been gone for a couple weeks. Anyone else out there been to Cameroon, Africa? Amazing place.

Anyway... I found the comments during this podcast quite amusing regarding many managers' (or B-school students) considering "strategy" jobs or assignments to be exciting, intriguing, and very desirable (my paraphrase). In contrast, however, at the large company where I've worked for 20+ years, when an executive (C level and above) is assigned to a "strategy" position he/she is most likely being put in the "penalty box" for "sins committed". This occurred within the last 4 months in my own reporting chain to an exec who had been a star up until the last 1.5 years when he failed to manage his headcount/budgets to the tune of overruns of several million dollars. To a man, those in the know with whom I've chatted about this have said: "Yep, big time penalty box move."

I've seen this occur at least 3 other times to various senior execs over the last 10 years. I.e., strategy position = punishment. Not bad punishment, though. You keep your exec position, salary, perqs, etc. but have less responsibility and more time to play golf. Sorry, Evil Al showing there...

Be careful what you wish for. ;-)


[...] Listen to Episode 1, 2 and 3

[...] Listen to Episode 1, 2 and 3 and leave some feedback. [...]

Al- Sure, that's right...(though it


Sure, that's right...(though it wasn't 15 years ago).

But DOING strategy work and being in a strategy role are two different things.


I related well to the verse from John

I related well to the verse from John Brown's Body. I thought that the podcast indicated that this was on the BLOG. My searching so far has not located the verse. Can you direct me to this?

Really am enjoying the podcast. It's making the commute bearable.

Boomer1- Click on the "list of all


Click on the "list of all articles" link and go to April 2006. It's "My Favorite Leadership Quote".



I can not fine the sample for the SWOT

I can not fine the sample for the SWOT podcast.


Hi - How's it? I've been re-visiting this podcast and supporting material. Templates are mentioned several times in the show notes, and slide deck.  "Templates you want the participants to use" for their presentation, "keeping them within the templates", etc.    Did MT provide example templates? I can't find any direction on the templates anywhere, maybe I overlooked something?  Thanks much .

I also cannot find templates mentioned in Podcast

Hoping someone can help here.  I cannot find the base templates mentioned in the podcast for the SWOT participants nor the PPT for the trial balloon deck.  Admittedly, I can create the latter from the show notes, but wanted to see if anyone knew where they were kept if they exist.

Thanks and a happy New Year to all,


 Sorry, Brian.  We'll see

 Sorry, Brian.  We'll see if we can track that down and get it posted here.

Happy New Year!

Best Regards,

Any update on SWOT templates?

Hi Mike and MT Team -

   Any luck in locating the templates to which you referred in this episode?  Would be invaluable to have your insights on forming/synthesizing the data via an example template as the launching point.

   If not, has anyone else created an example that they would be willing to share? 

Best Regards,



SWOT templates

Hey guys hope you're well (Michael from the 2008 London conference).

You mention presentation templates in the cast - is there any way of making these available as I am currently in the thick of carrying out a SWOT to inform our new five year strategy!

Many thanks



swot templates


I just signed up for Premium membership to help me with a SWOT session. 

Unfortunately I also cannot find these templates on the site.

Can anyone help?


SWOTcast templates

 I too am looking for the 'catalytic' templates mentioned in the SWOTcast...these ever turn up?

Are the 'SWOT Basics' slides the templates in question?