3 Steps to a Better SWOT Analysis

Successful companies regularly analyze their internal processes and the context in which they operate. They know that this is vital to improving their performance. One of the most effective ways of conducting this assessment is to use a SWOT analysis. An acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, this strategic planning tool can assist organizations in discerning new opportunities for growth and overcoming difficult obstacles. However, in order to reap all of the benefits from this process, it is important to first take a few steps to properly prepare.

Define Clear Objectives

The first step toward a more successful implementation of the SWOT analysis is to decide on a specific set of goals to be addressed. When deciding on these goals, it is important to consider the questions that need to be answered. For example, does the company need to find out why profits have recently declined or does it need to revamp its marketing strategy to appeal to a wider audience?

One of the best ways of conducting this research is for management to organize brainstorming sessions with the team leaders from each of the relevant departments. These sessions should encourage a free flow of ideas. Out of the ideas generated, management can then identify a set of the most important objectives for the SWOT assessment.

Appoint a Facilitator

The second step is to designate a facilitator to carry out the analysis. Ideally, the facilitator should not be a member of management, as this will hinder them from fully participating in the process. Moreover, it is helpful if the person responsible is independent and can take an unbiased approach. To this end, companies often appoint an external facilitator.

Cast a Wide Net

Third, when deciding who should participate in the assessment, it is important to include a wide range of types of personnel. The participants should represent various demographics, levels of seniority and career paths. Nevertheless, the number of participants should still be kept relatively low as a very large pool can make the process more complicated and time-consuming than necessary.

SWOT analysis is one of the most important management tools. It can identify the internal and external influences that affect the performance of an organization. These results can be used to create both general and targeted goals and the strategies to achieve them. Applying the three steps above can help any organization ensure that they get the most out of this assessment process.