I just read the SWOT article. While the framework is good, it needs a part II, on how to use the information.
My bosses did this with a small private school. However:
1. While they brainstormed with the entire staff, all subsequent action was done by the administration with no communication to the masses.
2. In their treatment, they concentrated on the threats and weaknesses, instead of the strengths and opportunities.
Over the course of the next three years, they navigated a path that made the school a poor copy of the public school system, abandoning the strengths, in order to cater to the weeknesses, and worried so much about the threats that they ignored the opportunities.
* Structure your response to a SWOT analysis.
* Spend equal time on each quadrant.
* Announce the discussion sessions ahead of time, and invite people who wish to come and give further imput. (many aren't interested.)
* Where possible provide an outline/discussion paper on what's coming up. Give people time to think about it ahead of the meeting. Not all people are quick on their feet.
* Don't come to a quick decision. Write out the action you plan to take, but make it clear that it's not set in stone. Sometimes people need to ruminate on it for a while.
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