What if you could sum up all of your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats with a straightforward exercise that could guide your organizational strategy for years to come? Would you do it? Of course you would!! If you're not familiar with SWOT analysis...keep reading because we're about to tell you what it is, how to do it, as well as provide you with a template so you can start your own analysis.
What is a SWOT analysis?
SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is just one of the tools in a project manager’s toolbox and can be very helpful during strategic planning and decision making. SWOT can be used to analyze teams, projects, businesses, organizations, or even individual products. In fact, you can use it to make routine decisions in your everyday life. It is basically a framework for making calculated, informed decisions. In a SWOT analysis, you essentially take a long, hard look in the mirror—preferably as a group—and determine what your organization is really good at, what it could get much better at, areas for growth, and what external factors could undermine your efforts. SWOT analysis doesn’t so much help you determine what to do, as much as it helps you determine whether or not to do something. In other words, SWOT analysis is less of a magic 8 ball and more of a compass. The ultimate goal of SWOT analysis is to match strengths with opportunities to determine a clear path to success, or uncover weaknesses that could be exploited so that they can be avoided in your organizational strategy. In this way, SWOT analysis is vital for risk management.
SWOT at a glance
Here’s a quick glance at each element of SWOT.
Strengths: What is your team really good at? What do you offer people that others can’t or don’t?
Weaknesses: What are some things that your team is not very good at, that others do much better?
Opportunities: What are some areas that your organization could thrive in that it isn’t currently taking advantage of?
Threats: What are some external factors—competitors, consumer demand, economic conditions—that could make it more difficult for your team to succeed?
You’ll notice that the first two letters focus on things that you have some control over internally, while the last two focus on external, environmental conditions that your organization will have to respond to.
How do I use a SWOT analysis?
It's best to start by looking for connections. If you can draw clear lines between strengths and opportunities—it’s a good time to be aggressive. On the other hand, if your weaknesses and threats seem to outweigh your strengths and opportunities—it may be time to come up with some new objectives, like expanding into digital markets.
Soooo...SWOT are you waiting for?
Now that you know a little bit more about SWOT analysis, it’s time to try out SWOT analysis with your team! So, put your Red Heels, download a free SWOT template below and go close deals!!