“David’s victory over Goliath is held to be an anomaly. It was not. When underdogs acknowledge their weaknesses and choose an unconventional strategy, they win, even when everything we think we know about power says they shouldn’t.” – Malcolm Gladwell, How David Beat Goliath
As I sat and watched this year’s March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament, I was reminded of the connection between winning and creating mismatches or competitive advantage. Coaches obsess over mismatches. They spend every waking moment planning them and the entire game making adjustments to create new ones. Properly leveraging them is the reason why teams like seventh-seed Michigan State got to the Final Four, while top-seed Villanova went home.
The SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis has been around since the 1960’s. Strengths and weaknesses are attributes of the internal organization, while opportunities and threats are attributes of the external environment. When identified properly, these attributes give a business a clear snapshot of their current reality. A snapshot they can then act on.