What is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is a commonly used tool that helps organisations to understand their current situation, both internally and externally.

As part of the strategic planning process, it is important to examine and analyse the entire organisation. This includes looking at it does well and the areas where it needs to improve, as well as what external factors may need to be accounted for in the strategy.

The SWOT analysis is, therefore, a very important part of the strategy creation processes as it helps answer the ‘where are we?’ question. This then helps us answer the question ‘how to we get from where we are to where we want to be?’.  It is the answers to these questions that identify the activities the organisation needs to take to achieve its objectives and goals.

SWOT is an acronym for:
Strengths

Identify and understanding the things that the organisation is good at is an important aspect of the strategy creation process.  In particular, the strengths that support the organisations goals and objectives are critical to supporting and sustaining the strategy model.

Weaknesses

Locate issues that the organisation needs to improve upon, especially those that have the potentially to negatively impact upon the future development of the organisation.

Opportunities

Find and evaluate events that are happening or will happen in the external environment that would benefit the organisations strategic future.

Threats

The things that are happening or will happen in the external environment that would have a negative impact on the future development of the organisation.

Our approach to the SWOT analysis.

A conventional SWOT analysis is normally done as  stand-alone exercise and consequently, the information is captured as a series of statements that can be used and referred to at a later date but  contextual information is not normally captured and the issues that are surfaced are not normally linked to the organisations strategy.

While the information we collect is the same, we  create causal links amongst the various elements of the SWOT analysis and to the relevant elements of the strategy  model.  This effectively creates a map of the SWOT as well as integrating that map into the overall strategy model, thereby creating a better understanding of the issues and how they affect the business goals and objectives.

For move information, read ‘How to make the most of a SWOT Analysis’…

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