There are many ways of taking a “helicopter” view of the envirnoment you operate your business in. One of the ones I like best is the “force field” model, a management technique developed by Kurt Lewin which he used to describe individual and group behaviours but which here is adapted to organisational behaviours.
“Force Field” asks two simple and distinct questions – what is pushing us forward versus what is holding us back as an organisation or business unit? The two opposing forces cause the organisation to be sitting at it’s current equilbrium point, set by the relative levels of the two sets of forces at the point in time that the analysis is done.
I like this approach because it allows you to intermix internal and external issues, avoids the “negativity” that inevitably exists with other more classic approaches, eg SWOT and can provide an excellent visual for workshop participants who are tasked with considering the questions.
I find a lot of clients who have been SWOTed too many times!
This approach works. Everyone “gets it”, it can be quite fun to play with and they happily participate.
Once you have the answers to the two questions you can then set about looking at strategies to maximise the positives and minimise the negatives. And you can more easily discuss with the group where the return on investment in each of the strategies can be best extracted, ie how much effort will it take to change each force and how much difference would it make? And you can look beyond the forces on the balance point now as opposed to those that might emerge within the planning timeframe.
By implementing the strategies the equilibrium point can be moved in a positive direction and the organisation grows. (or at worst avoids a decline)
Try it I think you will like it. If you want to know more contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to discuss how it can work for you.