Being strategic is all about making choices. And strategic choice is about making subjective decisions based on goal information. To do so, you first generate a list of all feasible alternatives. That means everything. Don't be shy — put down all your thoughts about potential alternatives for your organization to move from where you are today to where you want to be.
In Chapters 7 through 11, you cast your net wide to determine the actions to take based on your current strategic position. In fact, it probably feels a little messy right now. If you worked through each of the previous chapters, you've more than likely developed a SWOT that's multiple pages in length. In the following sections, I help you narrow your focus through a variety of approaches to create a short list of strategic alternatives.
In order to move from a list of possibilities to an actual plan, you need a workable list in each of the four SWOT quadrants: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. If your SWOT is overly long or if you have a lot of people involved in your process, consider the following ideas for paring down the SWOT quadrants. (If you don't feel like your SWOT is long, jump to the next section, “Identifying strategic alternatives.”)