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A Strategic Formula to Which We Should All Subscribe

Written by: March Chase Posted: 12/19/2017
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No matter the size, every operation should conduct self examination. Most of us would not risk our individual health, therefore we get routine check-ups. Our facility operations should not be any different. A frequent and systematic analysis helps to identify any symptoms that would result in negative trends, complacency, loss in asset value and overall declining health. While most articles are written on this or a similar topic, it is generally leaning towards the audit perspective whereas the goal of this publication is to focus more on the internal gears of a company: The inner strategy that we invent, which catapults us into the New Year, exceeding all levels of anticipated growth and performance.

As such, consider a "S.W.O.T. analysis" to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. What better time then the end of one year and the beginning of another to conduct this type of analysis? 

The following are examples of a S.W.O.T. analysis:

Strengths: 

  1. Employees (exceptional/knowledgeable/well trained)
  2. Financial strength of operation/profitability
  3. Efficient/innovative
  4. Willingness to take calculated risks

Weaknesses:

  1. Lack of growth/speed of growth
  2. Communication
  3. Workload imbalance
  4. Resistance to accept change at all levels

Opportunities:

  1. Increase market share
  2. Develop referral sources 
  3. Extend to other regions
  4. Professional development for all team members

Threats:

  1. Recession-slowing economy
  2. Loss of key employees
  3. Amount of competition
  4. Unknowns

Using this template as an example, dissect your operation and learn what your S.W.O.T. says about your operation.

Moving Forward

What is the next step after conducting a S.W.O.T. analysis? How about using what you uncovered to set a "BHAG", also known as a "Big Hairy Audacious Goal". According to Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Collins and Porras), “a true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as unifying focal point of effort and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal; people like to shoot for finish lines”.

Additionally, BHAG’s are meant to shift how we do business, the way we are perceived in the industry and possibly even the industry itself. Collins and Porras describe BHAGs on a corporate level as nearly impossible to achieve without consistently working outside of a comfort zone and displaying corporate commitment, confidence and even a bit of arrogance. BHAGs are bigger, bolder and more powerful than regular long-and-short-term goals. They typically take a ten to 30-year commitment but they are exciting, tangible and something everyone just “gets” without any further explanation. Can you imagine what our industry would look like and how it would be transformed if every operator, whether tertiary or primary, small or large, modern or dated, took hold and implemented this philosophy? Quite a compelling vision.

Collins, James C, and Jerry I Porras. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. HarperBusiness, 1994.

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