Opticianry Summit: Creating a Plan for the Future > Strength-based Strategic Planning
Strength-based Strategic Planning
Traditional approaches to strategy development often begin with an analysis of external and internal factors, followed by some visioning, then planning. Typically this involves a "SWOT" analysis - a thorough examination of internal Strengths and Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats. SWOTs are praised for capturing "a balanced analysis" - the positive and negative, as well as an inside and outside perspective of an organization. The risk, however, is that focusing on weaknesses and threats can create a downward spiral of thoughts, actions, and behaviors in reaction to the perceived problems. This can lead to finger-pointing, blame allocation, and other negative group dynamics - which severely lowers strategic innovation. Simply stated SWOT is not an inspiring place to start if you want a creative vision and impactful strategy.
Organizations and communities of stakeholders need to be inspired and to focus more on where they want to go versus where they do not want to go. A strength-based approach helps groups to articulate a compelling vision of their most desired future, develop strategies to propel their business forward, and create innovative solutions (programs, services, or other offerings) that guide strategic and operational activities.
The Opticinary Summit will begin with a positively reframed SWOT analysis, called SOAR* (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results). This strength-based approach has been shown to create an upward spiral of thoughts, actions, and behaviors from the get go, helping to ensure that creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, innovation, and collaboration - guide strategy development and implementation.
* Stavros, J; Cooperrider, D.; Kelly, D. (2003). "Strategic Inquiry & Appreciative Intent"