Friday, November 21, 2008

S.W.O.T. Analysis

Most of us know that Business has used the Military/Martial Arts Classics, Bing Faat (The Art of War) by Sun Tzu and Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings) by Miyamoto Musashi, to gain an edge on the competition. Well turnabout is fairplay... Martial Artists should be able to use something from Business!

I was discussing the pocket stick with my training partner J. In addition to his Shotokan black belt and various experiences in judo, boxing, JKDC, BJJ, Bagua, and Taiji, he has a MBA from a business school. While discussing using various everyday items as a pocket stick/yawara, he mentioned something to the effect of, "Let's S.W.O.T. the pen as a pocket stick."

My brain registered S.W.A.T. and one of the great police TV shows theme starts in my head. I did a "What did you say?" I asked J. if he said, "S.W.A.T." and he laughingly replied, "No, it's S.W.O.T." He went on to explain the SWOT analysis to me and how Business has used it. Follows is a brief description from wikipedia (

SWOT Analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favourable and unfavourable to achieving that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a research project at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies.

Strategic Use: Orienting SWOTs to An Objective

If a SWOT analysis does not start with defining a desired end state or objective, it runs the risk of being useless. A SWOT analysis may be incorporated into the strategic planning model. An example of a strategic planning technique that incorporates an objective-driven SWOT analysis is SCAN analysis. Strategic Planning, including SWOT and SCAN analysis, has been the subject of much research.

  • Strengths: attributes of the organization that are helpful to achieving the objective.
  • Weaknesses: attributes of the organization that are harmful to achieving the objective.
  • Opportunities: external conditions that are helpful to achieving the objective.
  • Threats: external conditions which could do damage to the business's performance.

Identification of SWOTs is essential because subsequent steps in the process of planning for achievement of the selected objective may be derived from the SWOTs.

First, the decision makers have to determine whether the objective is attainable, given the SWOTs. If the objective is NOT attainable a different objective must be selected and the process repeated.

Creative Use of SWOTs: Generating Strategies

If, on the other hand, the objective seems attainable, the SWOTs are used as inputs to the creative generation of possible strategies, by asking and answering each of the following four questions, many times:

  • How can we Use each Strength?
  • How can we Improve each Weakness?
  • How can we Exploit each Opportunity?
  • How can we Mitigate each Threat?

Ideally a cross-functional team or a task force that represents a broad range of perspectives should carry out the SWOT analysis. For example, a SWOT team may include an accountant, a salesperson, an executive manager, an engineer, and an ombudsman.

See if the SWOT Analysis can help your martial arts.



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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps