How To Do A SWOT Analysis: Strategic Planning Made Easy
By Lyndsay Swinton
Planning” sounds a lofty pursuit and perhaps beyond our
humble capabilities. Not so with a SWOT Analysis. Learn how
to do a SWOT analysis using the SWOT matrix and become an effective
strategic planner today, achieving your goals.
Strategic Planning Anyway?
planning is just management speak for long term future planning.
Strategic planning concerns anything that will bring results
in anything from 1 year to 5 years or beyond. It’s good
management practice to raise your head above the daily grind
every now and then, and take action now to positively affect
Definition of SWOT
most management models, the clue is in the name.
W = Weaknesses
O = Opportunities
T = Threats
The SWOT Matrix Explained
best management models have four quadrants, and the SWOT matrix
is no exception. You use each of the four quadrants in turn
to analyze where you are now, where you want to be, and then
make an action plan to get there.
of whether you or your team are future planning for specific
products, work, personal or any other area, the SWOT analysis
process is the same.
1 – In the here and now…
List all strengths that exist now. Then in turn, list all weaknesses
that exist now. Be realistic but avoid modesty!
2 – What might be…
List all opportunities that exist in the future. Opportunities
are potential future strengths. Then in turn, list all threats
that exist in the future. Threats are potential future weaknesses.
3 – Plan of action…
Review your SWOT matrix with a view to creating an action plan
to address each of the four areas.
· Strengths need to be maintained, built upon or leveraged.
· Weaknesses need to be remedied or stopped.
· Opportunities need to be prioritised and optimised.
· Threats need to be countered or minimised.
SWOT Analysis Example
Here’s one I prepared earlier…
the seeds and reap the benefits
that’s it! Not too complicated, I’m sure you’ll
agree. The SWOT matrix is a useful tool for strategic planning
and achieving your goals, individually or with a team. It’s
easy to learn how to do a SWOT analysis – just try one
out for yourself and reap the benefits.
Lyndsay Swinton is an experienced team leader, people manager and business coach. At her website she publishes her free no-nonsense Management Tips
newsletter and a range of practical management articles.