Do Some Business Soul Searching before the New Year
Here is a great employee engagement exercise for every leader to build into their end of year routine before beginning strategic planning for the new year.
Before beginning any journey, you first need to know where you are. To better understand where you are in business its helpful to know what got you here. Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway, and philanthropist, says…
“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”
Remember the last time you were planning a trip and consulted a map? First, you identified your current position. Next, you located your destination. And then you figured out the best route between the two points.
In a similar manner, applying the elements presented in this article will enable you first to understand your current position as an organization so you can chart the best course to achieve your company’s values, mission and vision.
It’s time to do some soul-searching. The deeper you choose to go into your analysis, the easier your next steps will be. Some facilitators call this next part of the process a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). But I like to call upon a “higher source” by renaming this soul-searching aspect the SPOC analysis (Strengths, Possible Improvements, Opportunities, and Challenges). It may seem trivial, but I’ve always loved the logical- and positive-minded Mr. Spock, from “Star Trek,” so I suppose this is a tribute to him. Rest in peace, legendary actor Leonard Nimoy. Thanks for the memorable v-shaped hand signal and the benevolent affirmation…
“Live long and prosper.”
So, what is the SPOC analysis; and why should you do it? In the process of building your business, the SPOC analysis offers a great, revealing way to assess where you are right now and then to scan the business environment in order to anticipate the possibilities that might present themselves on your journey toward achieving your values, mission and vision. It also identifies key areas that you may want to focus attention upon in the form of goals, objectives, or strategies. We’ll discuss more about that later.
Are you ready? Here’s how the SPOC Analysis process works:
- Answer the question “What are your organization’s Strengths?” These are the areas in which your organization does well, in which you excel. Capitalize on these strengths, and your organization will prosper, your teams will maximize their potential, and your employees will be productive and fulfilled.
- Answer the question “What Possible Improvements would help your organization to be more successful?” These are areas in which you may presently be experiencing some deficiencies. When guiding leaders through this segment of the SPOC analysis, I prefer to coach them to be proactive in identifying what needs to be improved in order to achieve their core purpose, core values, mission, and vision more quickly and effectively. These deficiencies act as speed bumps, slowing your progress.
- Answer the question “What potential Opportunities could be seized to move your organization toward accomplishing its mission and vision?” These ideas are most likely untapped activities and projects, or knowledge and skill-building events. Taking advantage of these opportunities will accelerate your progress toward success.
- Answer the question “What Challenges may need to be overcome?” Consider them as obstacles or roadblocks standing in the way of achieving success. These challenges could even be showstoppers for you and your company. Like water flowing along a rocky stream, you will need to find creative solutions in order to make your way over, around or through these obstacles in order to realize your mission and vision.
- If they didn’t surface when you were brainstorming the “Opportunities” and “Challenges,” what trends are emerging in your industry?
Answers to these five questions will help you to identify goals, objectives and strategies on which to focus your organization’s energy and attention.
So, why not do some soul searching before planning the new year…
- What are your Strengths as an organization?
- What are Possible Improvements in order for your organization to succeed?
- What Opportunities could you pursue to accelerate your progress?
- What are potential Challenges that may stand in your way toward achieving success?
- What trends are emerging in your industry?
Much success and fulfillment and Happy Holidays,
(Adapted from Chapter 6 of Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process by Ray Madaghiele.)
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