Comparing internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats are invaluable, yet often overlooked steps in a CEO’s decision-making process. • Strengths. Examine your company’s strengths by looking at the things you do better than anyone else, the skills you have that are more forward-thinking and efficient than the other guy’s, and the skills you can leverage into gains in the marketplace if employed properly.
• Weaknesses. Take an even harder look at your company’s weaknesses, including the areas where you are vulnerable to challenges by competitors, whether it’s weak customer service, products that don’t keep up with changing demand, or a pricing structure that doesn’t recognize where the market is going.
• Opportunities. Look at the openings in the marketplace for you to take advantage of events and circumstances outside the company, such as the identified weaknesses of key competitors or the sudden appearance of a market need that you can address before others recognize it.
• Threats. Keep watch for the looming entry into your market of a category-killing competitor, such as Wal-Mart offering generic prescriptions for $4, Amazon.com selling books online at below-bookstore prices, or the emergence of an Internet telephone service taking a big bite out of traditional phone company revenues. Gene Siciliano President Western Management Associates Los Angeles