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Look at a map of the world drawn upside down. It’s a good way to challenge your assumptions about the way the world is — especially which continents and oceans are bigger and which are smaller.
Looking at the business world upside down has a similar effect: It challenges your assumptions about company characteristics and what they mean for an organization.
Sometimes a company’s strengths can quickly turn into weaknesses. For example, a small and seemingly unimportant rival might figure out how to use your firm’s size against you.
Here’s an exercise to help you look for threats and opportunities where you hadn’t realized they exist. First, divide your employees into two teams.
Ask Team A to list your company’s strengths and Team B to list its weaknesses.
Then have the teams swap lists. Ask Team B to argue that the strengths are actually threats to the organization’s future, and Team A to argue that the weaknesses are opportunities.
Next, do an external analysis: Ask Team A to list the strengths it sees in your competition, and Team B the weaknesses. Again, have the teams swap lists and make the counterarguments.
The goal of this exercise is to open your, and your employees’, eyes to new possibilities — and guard against sudden changes that could mean trouble for your company.