Goals Based Strategic Planning - Part VII (SWOT ANALYSIS)

SWOT analysis is an exercise that identifies the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that are currently causing or may in the near future cause an impact to your organization.

That being said, if used appropriately, the SWOT can be a powerful technique that will help your organization carve a sustainable niche in your designated market space.

Strengths and Weaknesses are factors internal to your organization while Opportunities and Threats are factors external to your organization.

Consequently, the SWOT Analysis is sometimes referred to as the Internal-External Analysis and the SWOT Matrix is sometimes called an IE Matrix Analysis Tool.

STRENGTHS Consider these questions from an internal perspective, and from the point of view of your customers as well as your competitors. It is critical to be realistic.

For example, if all your competitors provide high quality consultants, then having high quality consultants is not necessarily a strength that is unique to your organization.

However, if all your consultants are certified in XYZ and your competitors consultants are not, then the ready availability of certified consultants is definitely an organizational strength.

WEAKNESSES Similar to Strengths, consider these questions from an internal perspective, and from the point of view of your customers as well as your competitors.

It is vital to be realistic in the assessments of your weaknesses during the strategic planning phase and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible. This will give you the opportunity to develop a strategic plan that could address and mitigate these weaknesses.

OPPORTUNITIES Consider opportunities from an external perspective, and from the point of view of your customers as well as your competitors.

Having identified the strengths and weaknesses, look at them and think of ways to create opportunities by:

•Eliminating weaknesses within your organization and/or

•Capitalizing on the strengths that your organization possess

THREATS Similar to opportunities, consider threats from an external perspective, and from the point of view of your customers as well as your competitors.

NOTE: The SWOT analysis can be very subjective. Therefore, it is essential that you are comprehensive and consistent in the way you apply it. Some purists believe that the SWOT should be depicted in the form of a matrix . I personally believe that the information is more important than how it is depicted and I do not care if it is written as paragraphs, bullet points, matrix, or on the back of a cocktail napkin. Just as long as the information is captured accurately and is used throughout the strategic planning process.

Author:.

Dr. Uchil is an entrepreneur, business-owner and author embodying almost three decades of management and consulting experience. Prior to founding The Uchil Group and Uchil, LLC, Dr. Uchil spent over eighteen years in a variety of senior management roles at several large consulting organizations. In addition to his PhD in Business Administration Dr. Uchil also holds an MBA in Consulting Operations Management, a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunicati...

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