Question: What tools are available to the business manager to assess performance and make plans for improvements in the coming year?

Answer: The best suggestion is to assess your business situation and determine what can be done to improve operations in the future. To accomplish this review, plan and action cycle, there are 3 tools that will help develop a system of continuous improvement. They are SWOT analysis, SMART goals development, and utilization of the PDCA action control system. They are identified and explained below. Also personal and organization commitment is presented in a closing commentary


The SWOT Tool enables you to take an overall view of your internal and external environments. SW stand for internal strengths and weaknesses in your organization. The assessment of each enables you to pinpoint what needs improvement (weaknesses) and what you need to exploit (strengths). OT stands for external opportunities and threats in the environment. You need to identify opportunities for exploration and possible exploitation and assess threats that need to be avoided or neutralized wherever possible.


The SMART Tool is a system in which you create the plans to address the issues identified through the SWOT analysis. The plans must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Goals that are specific and measurable set the stage for actions aimed at reaching attainable, relevant and time bound achievements.


The PDCA Tool is the action step in goal attainment. The acronym stands for Plan, Do, Check, Act and it functions as a steering mechanism by which the firm acts on the developed plans and then checks its performance against established goals. The last step, Act, requires management to take action whether performance was as planned or not. Positive performance requires identification and continuation of policies and practices that led to positive outcomes whereas negative performance requires changes that management must make to address shortcomings and enable improved performance in the future.


No management system however sophisticated can thrive in a hostile environment or one in which commitment is either half-hearted or absent entirely. Commitment to goals isn’t based on business systems alone. It is also based on the personal motivations of all the people involved, including those outside the boundaries of the organization. We need personal goals as well as business goals. They must be focused upon personal growth and built on a foundation of integrity, ethics and honesty. It should also be the belief that living and working to achieve an enduring vision and a meaningful purpose are what makes a business and a person successful.


Contact SCORE today to enlist the services of a mentor to help you make 2017 a better year for your business and yourself.  Call 301-766-2043

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