Class Layers Part 5 - SWOT Analysis

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ROBERT ALPE
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Class Layers Part 5 - SWOT Analysis

Post by ROBERT ALPE » Tue Aug 08, 2006 6:26 am

Discussion Paper - Part Five - Class Layers - SWOT Analysis!

For those who review this Forum, this is the fifth in a series of papers. While the proposer/writer is an IDA Officer, the contents are his notions/observations and are not necessarily those of the IDA or fellow IDA Officers.

If you wish to join into this discussion. please read and comment on Part One - Class Layers Forum, Part Two ASPIRATIONAL Class Layer, Part Three ENTHUSIASTIC Class Layer and Part Four AFFLUENT and PROFESSIONAL Class Layer topics before reading this paper. Thank you!

Part Five

Class Layers - SWOT Analysis

Perhaps answers lay in what it will take to manage programs that play to the strengths of each Class Layer, while allowing integration of all four. So to better understand what it is within the Class Layers that could be integrated for the overall good of the class, I believe we need to better appreciate each Layers Strengths, and its Weaknesses. Plus, we need to identify the Opportunities available for Integration, and clearly define the Threats to meeting those opportunities. What we need a SWOT Analysis.

So dear reader, you have some homework. For EACH class layer, we need a SWOT analysis please. When complete, please post on this forum under this POST. Thank you!

The following was pulled from a WEB site [then modified] and simply explains the what's and how's of a SWOT analysis:

What is it?
SWOT Analysis is a tool used for understanding each Class Layers strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Nnamely: ASPIRATIONAL, ENTHUSIASTIC, AFFLUENT and PROFESSIONAL. Each require a SWOT analysis.

Why use it?
The SWOT Analysis tool can be used in identifying an each Class Layers strengths (S) and weaknesses (W), and examining the opportunities (O) and threats (T) it is facing. The outcome from a SWOT Analysis enables this discussion to focus on each [ASPIRATIONAL, ENTHUSIASTIC, AFFLUENT and PROFESSIONAL] strengths, minimize weaknesses, address threats, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available.

How to use it?
While the SWOT Analysis is typically conducted in a group session, it can also be undertaken in other forums (including electronically).

Strengths:
Questions to ask and answer:
What do ASPIRATIONAL, ENTHUSIASTIC, AFFLUENT and PROFESSIONAL Class Layer do exceptionally well?
What advantages do each have?
What valuable assets and resources do each have?
What do members/sailors identify as the strengths of each layer?

Tips:
Be realistic...and honest!
Think in terms of what have have that other classes don't have.
Don't just take the internal staff and volunteer perspective...consider how our sailors view their Layer.

Weaknesses:
Questions to ask and answer:
What could each ASPIRATIONAL, ENTHUSIASTIC, AFFLUENT and PROFESSIONAL Class Layer do better?
What are each Class Layer criticized for or receive complaints about?
Where is each Class Layer vulnerable?

Tips:
Don't tiptoe around weaknesses, but be constructive and positive in putting them on the table.
Get research so you know what outsiders think...about each Layer and other classes!

Opportunities:
Questions to ask and answer:
What opportunities do each ASPIRATIONAL, ENTHUSIASTIC, AFFLUENT and PROFESSIONAL Class Layer know about, but have not been able to address?
Are there emerging trends on which each Class Layer can capitalize?

Tips:
Look at changes in the sector represented by the Dragon, technological changes, management policy, socioeconomic and demographic changes.
Be open-minded...key opportunities may come from unlikely and seemingly unrelated sources.
Consider how each Class Layer can exploit their strengths or address their weaknesses to generate additional opportunities,

Threats:
Questions to ask and answer:
Are any of each ASPIRATIONAL, ENTHUSIASTIC, AFFLUENT and PROFESSIONAL Class Layer weaknesses that likely to make them critically vulnerable?
What external roadblocks exist that block each Class Layers progress?
Are other yacht classes doing anything different?
Is there significant change coming in each Class Layers' sector?
Is technology dramatically changing the sector and services to it?
Are economic conditions affecting each Class Layer financial viability?

Tips:
Have an open and expansive perspective. The buggy whip manufacturing association may not have seen early automobiles as a big threat to the association...but they were!
An environmental scan is critical.

Final Thoughts
The process is important not only for identifying where to apply resources and attention, it enables our Class to put the issues for each Layer into perspective.

A Sample SWOT Analysis

A USA provincial professional association's SWOT Analysis might look as follows:

Strengths:
Our members value the professional designation.
We have a lower course fee structure than similar programs.
We provide good customer service.
Our instructors are highly-regarded in the profession.
We have a small staff and low overhead.

Weaknesses:
We are slow to make decisions and adapt to changes that affect the profession.
The professional designation is rarely included as a condition of employment.
We are overly dependent on key volunteers who developed and teach our certification courses.
We do not have the resources to research the market and promote the designation.

Opportunities:
The employment market for our members is expanding rapidly.
The government has indicated a willingness to review our Act.
There is significant interest in accessing our programs from the the Caribbean, and south east Asia.

Threats:
On-line education technology will produce more competition for courses.
Since NAFTA, interest in the American certification is growing.
A private company with a successful web site and conference is taking advertisers and sponsors away from us.

Based on this SWOT Analysis, the association is better positioned to take appropriate and effective action.


I repeat: you have some homework. For EACH class layer, we need a SWOT analysis please. The more, the better. When complete, please post on this forum under this POST. Thank you!
Last edited by ROBERT ALPE on Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
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Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

Well, that's quite a lot to think on.

Post by Mickey Lake » Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:22 am

And not exactly my forte.

To be perfectly honest I don't feel qualified to do this. I do have opinions of course, but with the North American fleets being so removed from the 'mainstream' of Dragon sailing it is hard to understand some of where you are coming from. Well, I will make a hard-copy of this and study it for awhile. Maybe I can come up with something.

Mickey Lake USA149
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

ROBERT ALPE
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:13 pm
Location: Sydney, AUSTRALIA
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It is quite a lot to think on, Yes!

Post by ROBERT ALPE » Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:46 am

It is not as complex as one might expect! :D

Your experiences and views, albeit from a Dragon market with its growth potental yet to be realised, are of critical importance. How you see the class layers from the outside looking in, or the inside looking in, will greatly assist the discussion. So please struggle on with this Mickey.

The USA is a market the Dragon Class cannot ignore, and my guess is, it will not ignore. But it is a real challenge as you well know, and the more of your, and other USA based viewpoints are received, the more our conclusions can be equipted with options to tackle the USA and grow the Dragon fleet.

If I can be of direct assistance off Forum, please email me direct!

Thanks and good Luck

Robert Alpe

Mickey Lake
Posts: 103
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:18 am
Location: Spanish Fort, Alabama, USA

Here's my attempt at this.

Post by Mickey Lake » Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:59 am

Before beginning please understand that I write all of this strictly from a North American point of view, and also from someone who has been a class member (or owner more specifically) for a relatively short period of time.

I lumped the ASPIRATIONAL and the ENTHUSIASTIC sailors into the same group: In my experience these are usually sailors who would like to participate at a higher level but are constrained by the limits of time and money. These people have many assets for the class to use in that they are usually very energetic and willing to learn, plus they are usually the first to offer to help with working a new member into the fleet or to carry out different projects being undertaken. The opportunities for growth that I see within the Dragon class mainly effect this layer of member and I will address this later on in the paper.

The AFFLUENT members of any one design class are a huge resource to the class because of their extensive networking abilities. Sponsorship and transportation, class promotion and advertising, the securing of venues. Usually these are areas in which the AFFLUENT members will excel. Another important positive point is that they keep the builders and equipment suppliers active in supporting the class, and no class can survive without strong builders. A healthy and active market for new boats and equipment means that there is also a healthy market for quality used boats and that's a good thing for everyone.

But all of this comes with a price. The only way to say it is in my opinion the AFFLUENT levels of any class can get too important to the class and that's when you begin to lose touch with the most substantial body of the membership (ASPIRATIONAL/ENTHUSIASTIC members).

PROFESSIONAL sailors help to create an awareness for the class among the sailing public and the general public as well, and help to raise the skill level of all competitors because they bring a wide range of experience from different levels of sailing into the class. Also, these people are the ones who have the power to change things for the better in terms of gear and equipment used in our boats. The only problem with having professionals sailing in your class is that may not always have the best interests of the general membership at heart when they encourage some of these changes. It is a tough symbiotic realtionship that is not always perfectly balanced.

There are many opportunities to grow this class, imo. Since I am an American I will at least give an idea of what I think can be done to help promote Dragon sailing in the US.

1. Promote and advertise. The Olympic memories have faded here, but the aesthetic beauty of the boat, the sailing quality of the design, and the strength of the class in Europe and Australia are all strong points that can be demonstrated. There has been a growth market for more traditional designs over the last few years in North America that could be taken advantage of. Enter a boat in the major boat shows with an 'expert' to demonstrate and answer questions. It is a very impressive boat visually. Take advantage of that fact.

2. Develop the class from the ground up: Classic Dragon sailing. Encourage the development of more involvement from the classics at both the national and the international levels through trophies and championships. Every one of the meter classes does this. Our woodies should be one of the strengths of the class.

Another aspect of development should be to create programs to help and encourage our newer members. Offer clinics, create a DVD for boat handling and tuning, and in general work to create an atmosphere in which everyone is welcome and made to feel a part. Costs for such items are easily defrayed and well worth it.

3. This is a little tricky: consider creating sail limitations so that the ASPIRATIONAL/ENTHUSIASTIC members do not feel that they are in an arms race that they can not win. I realise that there are trade-offs here in that Dragon class considers itself a cutting-edge class in Europe and some of the members will see this as a limitation of performance, but it should at least be discussed.

4. Also tricky: put North America back into the rotation for the World's. This will not be easy as our fleets are small and would have a hard time supporting an event with the expectations most competitors today associate with a World's caliber event. The IDA would have to give us a lot of support with planning and perhaps logistics but it may be worth it to the class membership as a whole to help us grow again in a major market like this one. It's an idea that needs to be discussed.

The threats to the class in North America are pretty obvious. Right now there is still a slim hope that we can come back. There is new activity in a couple of areas that used to support Dragon sailing and a small amount of interest across the continent. Without some energetic and imaginative support from the class things will probably not improve very much.

The threats to growth in the class worldwide also seem to be pretty obvious. We need to create a new generation of Dragon sailors and we need to address the costs of participating, whether it is the costs of the equipment or of the events themselves.

My suggestions? Easy. Consider developing a program that actively encourages new Dragon sailors, both in our established markets and in new markets. Concentrate on ways to make Dragon sailing available to a younger genration of sailor. Throw support behind the fleets in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, yes, and the US and Canada. Find a way to make those sailors not in Europe feel a part of the class. Address the public perception (at least here in the US) that this is an elitist class and if that's the image that we want to portray. On the one hand it helps to create a market, and on the other hand it may suppress a market in which we could grow. Is there not a better balance that can be achieved?

Well, that's enough of that. Probably not entirely what Robert had in mind but it was my best attempt.

Respectfully,

Mickey Lake USA149
Last edited by Mickey Lake on Sat Aug 12, 2006 5:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
A disciple of the Norse God of aesthetically pleasing boats, Johan Anker.

ROBERT ALPE
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2006 3:13 pm
Location: Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Contact:

Excellent Mickey!

Post by ROBERT ALPE » Wed Aug 09, 2006 4:45 am

And thank you for your continued support to broaden the discussion. There are many emerging Dragon markets throughout the world, some with old fleets like North America, and some with no fleets, like South America. Your distinctly North American perspective to growth, and your contributions to the SWAT analysis identify credible opportunities for every emerging Dragon market and should be consolidated into the template for change.

Your also develop on the strategic relationships between the Class Layers making some interesting observations that add significantly to the debate.

Again, thank you!

Robert Alpe

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