SWOT is about the only tool that is used proactively across our organization. So, how should we use it and why?
Rich Horwath has a good list of 5 common mistakes made in completing SWOT analyses.
At the bottom of that webpage he points out why we should complete a SWOT analysis in the first place. As he says:
Step 1 is the SWOT Analysis. Step 2 is to use the Opportunity & Threat Matrices to prioritize the opportunities and threats based on probability and impact. Step 3 consists of SWOT Alignment where you align strengths and weaknesses with opportunities and threats to develop potential strategies. SWOT can be a powerful tool when used correctly and can be a time sucking, snooze-fest when used incorrectly.
In his book Deep Dive, Horwath describes his Step 3 like this:
The SWOT Alignment model aligns the internal capabilities (strengths and weaknesses) with the external possibilities (opportunities and threats) to methodically develop potential strategies. …… To construct the SWOT Alignment model, list the strengths, weaknesses , opportunities, and threats in their respective boxes. Then create potential strategies by methodically aligning the strengths and opportunities, strengths and threats, weaknesses and opportunities, and weaknesses and threats in the appropriate boxes. This model serves as an appropriate exercise after a SWOT Analysis and Opportunity & Threat matrices have been completed.
I’d tell you more, but Horwath will probably sue me for stealing his IP. You’ll have to read the book I’m afraid.