Question One: Why SWOT not be the ending point of strategic planning.
SWOT analysis should not be the ending point of strategic planning since there are several factors which are unpredictable and or unforeseen, hence the need to explore further. Wheelen, Hunger, Hoffman, & Bamford, (2017), posit that SWOT analysis focus on the internal forces, and some external forces like opportunities and threats. However, other factors that affect market trends might be strengths at one time, but become threats in the future. As such, there is need to integrate other economic strategic measure like the PESTEL analysis for a comprehensive view of market trends. Besides the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats an organization might face, it is imperative for the same organization to understand the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal factors that might affect the business more so when dealing with expansion and internationalization. Therefore, factors such as PESTEL model of analysis should be exhausted beyond SWOT analysis. Such a model of analysis gives a deeper scope and a better understanding of the market trends, hence develop functions to predict the future trends and how to convert threats to possible opportunities.
Question Two: Why SWOT Might not be the best Planning Tool
There are several ways with which SWOT analysis is considered as a good planning tool, however, it is not the ultimate best method of planning instruments. One of the main reasons why SWOT analysis might not be the best planning tool is that the data collected and analyzed are more subjective, and secondly such information might get outdated very fast. The data collected get outdated very fact since they reflect on the current practices or past activities of the firm. As such, when there are swift changes to the market trends that affects sales, supply chain, or production, then the previous data becomes redundant. The subjective analysis means that the data collected are specific and biased to the sense that opportunities will be sort even when there are little or deem chances. Or some factors might be indicated as threats, but in the real sense, they are opportunities that awaits solving and gaining profits.
Question Three: External Forces Derailing Planning and Performance
The major external force that can derail planning or performance if government policy and or legislations (Rothaermel, 2015). The government can establish an executive order that disrupts business or derail performance of an organization. For example, the order by the US government to impose tariffs on goods from China affects business. Such an order makes business difficult, or planning since an organization might not be able to predict when such an order will be lifted or the extent of its impact, directly to the organization, or the market trends. In addition, political instability is an external factor that affects or can derail planning or an organization. The political instability can affect production, sales, investments, or consumer confidence to an extent that a firm might not be able to plan since it cannot predict the future events/occurrences. For example, the political instability in Syria makes it very difficult for business to thrive hence difficulty for organizations to plan hence affected performance.
Question Four: How Organizations can avoid surprises
It is important for organizations to monitor competitors so as to be at per with the various market trends and best practices to have a competitive advantage. As such, it is common for organizations to be surprised with inventions, technological advancement or serious competition by rival firms. Therefore, the firms can avoid competition by conduction constant market survey, internal systems audit, strategic planning with concrete vision and mission (Rothaermel, 2015). Markey surveys helps to know relevant trends, and how such trends can benefit the organization as a whole. Internal systems audit helps to fill gaps created during production, or supply chain. In addition, the internal audit will help reduce wastages which can either trigger the surprise downturn or escalate the possible problem from an external factor. Strategic planning through established vision and mission of the firm gives the organization a road map to follow in attaining its objectives, and the long-term mission and vision. To that extent that organizations conduct market surveys, internal audits and strategic planning, they are able to avoid surprises.
Rothaermel, F. T. (2015). Strategic management. McGraw-Hill Education.
Wheelen, T. L., Hunger, J. D., Hoffman, A. N., & Bamford, C. E. (2017). Strategic management and business policy. Pearson.