In Evaluations, Strategic Planning by Geoff Burns

Its likely that you have heard of a SWOT analysis, but what is STOP? STOP is a survival technique used by various military, para-military, and survival enthusiasts. STOP stands for Situation, Threats, Observations, Plan. For organizations experiencing any sort of hardship or increased challenges, it may be time to STOP.

A formal strategic plan is always preferred, but for any organization that simply needs direction and guidance on how to navigate immediate issues, the STOP approach can be of use. First, identify the Situation. We have to know where we are if we are going to make any decisions. This requires complete honesty about the situation.

Next, look at the threats. What is immediate? Don’t dwell on the negatives, but again, be honest about the real issues. Name the enemy. Failure to identify the threats prevents appropriate response to the issues.

Organize your resources. Take inventory of the assets in your possession and identify how they can be of use in your current situation. These assets may range from people to tools. The key here is to make sure that you know the resources available to address the threats.

Finally, make a plan. A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. Find a way to use your resources to address the threats and get from where you are to where you need/want to be. A plan is essential. Even a poor plan is better than no plan. But remember, it is not the plan, but the execution that determines success.

If your organization is in a bind, just STOP. You might be surprised just how far you can go.