What is the SCOC analysis?

The SCOC analysis is an asset-based strategic planning tool focusing on the core strengths of a business, building upon what it claims to be the shortcomings of a traditional SWOT analysis. Indeed, the SCOC analysis claims that the SWOT analysis focuses on threats that might never materialize, thus underweighting potential opportunities.

Understanding the SCOC analysis

The SCOC analysis is a strategic planning tool that was developed to address shortfalls in the traditional SWOT analysis.

In a SWOT analysis, decision-makers tend to spend most of their time repairing weaknesses and speculating about external threats. The end result is that is the positive aspects of a company – strengths and opportunities – are not given the attention they deserve.

Practitioners of the SCOC analysis argue that the SWOT analysis is a deficit-based approach to strategic planning. Businesses end up planning for threats that never materialize and their focus on negative outcomes blinds them to avenues for growth.

The SCOC analysis is a more balanced approach. It does not exaggerate weaknesses and threats, nor does it undervalue strengths and opportunities.

Running a SCOC analysis

A SCOC analysis is an asset-based approach that considers four key areas:

  1. Internal strengths – what is the business already doing well?
  2. Internal challenges – how can these strengths be used to solve current or predicted challenges within the business?
  3. External opportunities – what are the external opportunities most suited to the strengths of the business?
  4. External challenges – how can the business face external challenges with a positive mindset? This is a key differentiator of the SCOC analysis, encouraging decision-makers to maintain an open, curious, and creative mindset when faced with difficulties.

Why is the SCOC analysis important?

As noted in the introduction, businesses that conduct SWOT analyses tend to become preoccupied with identifying and then planning for negative outcomes.

This phenomenon has been extensively studied. Scientific research has found that negative emotions in have approximately three times the impact of positive emotions.

The SCOC analysis is important in helping decision-makers avoiding devoting company resources to problems that may be overstated or worse still, non-existent.

Mindfulness-based strategic awareness

Together with the SOAR and SOPA analysis, the SCOC analysis advocates mindful awareness and leadership principles.

Here, mindfulness is combined with aspects of positive psychology to encourage leaders to adopt a results-oriented focus on business strategy. This gives them the ability to perceive, create, and capitalize on potential opportunities for growth.

Importantly, an awareness of the positive aspects (or strengths) of strategy achieves better outcomes for the business and improves company culture. It also gives the employees within a business the cognitive flexibility to adapt to new challenges.

Key takeaways:

  • The SCOC analysis is an asset-based and solution-focused strategic planning tool.
  • The SCOC analysis was created to address a tendency for decision-makers to become preoccupied with weaknesses and threats in a SWOT analysis. In many cases, this preoccupation blinds the company to strengths and opportunities.
  • The SCOC analysis is one of a host of similar analyses advocating a mindful approach to strategy formulation. This allows decision-makers to combine mindfulness with positive psychology to focus on core strengths and the meeting of challenges with an open mind.

Related Strategy Tools

BCG Matrix

In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.


Benchmarking is a tool that businesses use to compare the performance of their processes and products against businesses considered to be the best in their industries. Benchmarking allows a business to refine their practices and thus increase its overall performance. Generally, benchmarking can be broken down in the process, performance, and strategic benchmarking.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT Analysis is a framework used for evaluating the business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It can aid in identifying the problematic areas of your business so that you can maximize your opportunities. It will also alert you to the challenges your organization might face in the future.

PESTEL Analysis

The PESTEL analysis is a framework that can help marketers assess whether macro-economic factors are affecting an organization. This is a critical step that helps organizations identify potential threats and weaknesses that can be used in other frameworks such as SWOT or to gain a broader and better understanding of the overall marketing environment.

Porter’s Five Forces

Porter’s Five Forces is a model that helps organizations to gain a better understanding of their industries and competition. Published for the first time by Professor Michael Porter in his book “Competitive Strategy” in the 1980s. The model breaks down industries and markets by analyzing them through five forces

Scenario Analysis

Businesses use scenario planning to make assumptions on future events and how their respective business environments may change in response to those future events. Therefore, scenario planning identifies specific uncertainties – or different realities and how they might affect future business operations. Scenario planning attempts at better strategic decision making by avoiding two pitfalls: underprediction, and overprediction.

VRIO Framework

The VRIO framework is a tool that businesses can use to identify and then protect the factors that give them a long-term competitive advantage. The VRIO framework will help assess reality based on four key elements that make up its name (VRIO): value, rarity, imitability, and organization. VRIO is a holistic framework to assess the business.

Read Next: SWOT Analysis, Personal SWOT Analysis, SOAR Analysis, TOWS Matrix, PESTEL Analysis, Porter’s Five Forces.

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