Lots of people argue on why the bridges back in the day were covered, I think the most logical reason, is that the trusses of the bridge needed to be protected from all the weather, rain, ice, snow, the sun, and wind. The average shelf life of a bridge uncovered was 10 years, by covering the bridge you could extend the life span tenfold. “100 Years.” What an improvement on the return on investment.
Are we doing the same thing with the companies we run and manage? What does our rain, sun, snow, and weather look like? What outside forces are wearing down our trusses, our foundations, our longevity?
I think everyone needs to go a little old school once in a while and run through one of my favorite analysis, the good old SWOT analysis. I started using the SWOT analysis back in my Air Force days in 1994 and 1995 when the TAM movement was hot. TAM stands for Team Action Management, Albert Humphrey, founder really focused on breaking down old paradigms of how management used to tell their employees, not teams of people what they were going to do, how they were going to do it. Humphrey instead pushed to get the people who would be doing the actual work involved deeply into building the strategic plan. Novel idea, don’t run dictatorships in business, get input from experts already doing the work in your firm, ask them to be involved.
So for any person not familiar with the SWOT it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. I like to use this variation of the SWOT analysis found at https://www.businessballs.com/swotanalysisfreetemplate.htm#swot-analysis-matrix.
I suggest bringing in your strategic managers or business partners and spend an afternoon brainstorming. You will be surprised that some of the most amazing ideas you come up with for defending against a risk sometimes turn out to be a win win expanding say into new markets, improving a relationship with your sales team or even a new product. I use them when I am:
- Selling a business
- Buying a business
- Succession planning
- Recruiting planning
- Project planning
- Investment opportunities
Good luck on your SWOT!! I hope it ends up being a useful tool for you in building a solid infrastructure around your foundation.
Written by: Shane P. Snively
Disclosure: I took this picture on the National Forest Covered Bridge Scenic Byway follows State Route 26 from Marietta Ohio to Woodsfield Ohio. This is a map of the route, it was so beautiful http://www.scenicdrivesusa.com/node/144 .