Strategic Planning for Extraordinary Leaders: Replace SWOT with GROW

Strategic-Planning-GROW-model-not-SWOTHere we are – being rebellious corporate consultants again! This time we are focusing on the SWOT formula, which is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Just about any consultant worth their salt has this formula ready to roll out when a client asks about strategic planning; implementing a big change in market, product, or organization; or making key business decisions. But think about it: this formula dates back to the 1960s, and has changed very little since then. While the formula obviously has merit, we have never liked:

  • the militaristic sound of it,
  • the fact that it focuses on situations in a negative way, and
  • the way it is implemented. Too often tries to stand alone, resulting in lots of data with no clues about what to do with it.

All too often, we’ve seen consultants and leaders end up in a cycle of negativity, diving into this model without any substantive results to show for their time, other than mass confusion and a feeling of being overwhelmed with the problems.

As we’ve used the model with clients, we found ourselves continually tweaking, fine-tuning, and adjusting the model to produce the quality results we were seeking. After many such experiences, we finally created our own model, which we offer here for leaders to consider. We find this model brings out the same important issues, but in a stronger, more useful manner that becomes a stepping stone to action and results. The whole acronym even sounds healthier. We call it GROW!

 

How Does the GROW Model Work?

 

GROW is an acronym that represents the four phases involved in this process:

G = Gratitude. During this phase, you evaluate the things for which you are grateful – what’s worked and produced positive results. The focus is on the past (with a definite time period identified, depending on the situation for which the model is being used).

R = Reality Check. During this phase, you assess the current situation, with an analysis of advantage points, together with current challenges, vulnerabilities, and potential issues that could sabotage your success.

O = Outcome Projection. During this phase, you identify where you want to be within a certain timeframe appropriate for the situation.

W = What’s Next? This is the action-planning phase, where you look at the Outcome Projection in relation to the Reality Check data, identifying the steps to capitalize on advantage points and reduce the challenges/vulnerabilities.

 

Each step in the GROW model requires facilitated activities and dialog, to ensure the end result is a plan of action that is measurable, practical, and results-oriented. So pull your team together for a Think Tank GROW session — and be extraordinary!
 

Photo Credit: graphicstock.com

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