At a recent meeting I attended one of the discussions included a quick and brief outline of what is termed SWOT. SWOT stands for Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The idea here is that a scan of the internal and external environment is an important part of a strategic planning process for any business. A SWOT analysis helps to identify your organization’s strengths and weaknesses (S-W), as well as broader opportunities and threats (O-T). The SWOT analysis provides helpful information in matching an entity’s resources and capabilities to the competitive environment in which it operates. The SWOT method was originally developed for business and industry, but it is equally useful for personal growth. 1
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I left that meeting thinking about my own practice’s SWOT, but my thoughts turned to the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats to optometry in general.
I came up with a quick list:
• Strengths: Patient care. I have always felt that we do an outstanding job of caring for our patients, and this is the one mainstay that will carry our profession forward.
• Weaknesses: A lack of self-confidence. We tend to defer to other professionals much too quickly and at times don’t appear to have the confidence in our own abilities.
• Opportunities: There are an abundance of opportunities in our profession. Two come to mind rather quickly: clinical point-of-care testing and dry eye. Optometry should own the ocular surface!
• Threats: Just as there are an abundance of opportunities, there are an equal number of threats. Opternative is the first that comes to mind. The continual erosion of profit margins due to vision care plans is another. I’m certain some would say an overabundance of providers.
The purpose of performing a SWOT is to reveal positive forces that work together and potential problems that need to be recognized and possibly addressed. This is my shortlist. What do you think are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to our profession? I would enjoy hearing your list.
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