SWOT Analysis Guide

SWOTanalysis is the standard for how teams perform SWOT Analysis, GAP Analysis, and more

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Use SWOT Analysis to Evaluate Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
Use PEST Analysis to focus on Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors
Use GAP Analysis to understand your current state and where you would like to go
Use Stop, Start, Continue Analysis to analyze what's working, what's not working
Use Pros and Cons Analysis to strategically vet any decision
Use WHY Analysis, inspired by Simon Sinek's Ted Talk, to focus on "purpose"
Use V2MOM Plan inspired by the CEO of Salesforce to set annual goals
Use Problem Analysis to solve problems by focusing on the cause and effects
Use Alignment Analysis to solidify your purpose, mission, goals, and core values
Use an Vision & Mission Analysis to create your vision, mission, purpose, and values
Use Candidate Analysis to make better hiring decisions 
Use Meeting Agenda to build collaborative meeting agendas
Use Sprint Retrospective Analysis to analyze what went well and what went wrong

How to Perform a SWOT Analysis

BACKGROUND

Let’s start with a quick background on why the SWOT Analysis was originally created and how it became the global standard for how individuals, teams, and companies apply strategic thinking to just about any situation. The SWOT Analysis was initially developed over 50 years ago by a group of researchers from Stanford University who in 1960 set out to better understand why strategic planning processes were failing for so many companies.  The team interviewed more than 5,000 executives from over 1,000 companies and their learnings have helped companies think, plan, and work better by leveraging this simple yet highly effective strategic process.

SWOT ANALYSIS

Evaluate your internal Strengths and Weaknesses and external Opportunities and Threats.

Strengths

Strengths are based on internal factors and viewed as helpful to your organization.  

Weaknesses

Weaknesses are based on internal factors and viewed as harmful to the organization. 

Opportunities

Opportunities are based on external factors and viewed as helpful to your organization.  

Threats

Threats are based on external factors and viewed as harmful to your organization.  

STEP BY STEP GUIDE

1. CREATE
Create an online SWOT Analysis - Think about something important to you such as an upcoming decision, a new project that is launching, a situation where you want a successful outcome.  Let’s set an objective for this upcoming decision, for example, we want to become the leader in our industry within the next 3 years.
2. INVITE
Now, invite your peers to help you brainstorm.
3. BRAINSTORM ONLINE
Strengths  
Strengths are based on internal factors and viewed as helpful to your organization.  What internal processes, resources, products do you have that you would define as your strengths that will allow you to lead your industry?

Weaknesses
What are your Weaknesses?  What internal factors are holding you back from leading your industry. Keep it simple, list out the top weakness that you currently have that would need to be overcome in order to become the leader.

Opportunities  
Opportunities are based on external factors and viewed as helpful to your organization.  How is the world around you changing?  What new technological, social, political, economic changes can you take advantage of as an Opportunity to advance your business and achieve your objective of leading your industry?

Threats
Threats are based on external factors and viewed as harmful to your organization.  How are external factors, such as, technological, social, political, economic changes posing a Threat to your objective.  Think through everything outside your company that could threaten your ability to lead the industry.
VOTE THE BEST CONTENT UP
Encourage your team to click on the star icons to vote the best content to the top and to feature the top five most important items on the main grid. You as the creator can click the star icon twice to auto-feature any content and override the votes.
HELP TEXT
Hover over the "?" icons within the sections to get additional coaching on how best to complete each section.
4. CONCLUSION
As you complete your SWOT Analysis add a conclusion of your findings. What internal Strengths can we leveraged to create action against your external opportunities? What internal Strenghts could be used to combat external Threats?
4. ACTION PLAN
Convert your SWOT Analysis into a strategic action plan.   Based on our objective what are the 3-5 most important things you must do in the next 90 days to act on our SWOT Analysis. You can create an online V2MOM Analysis, created by the CEO of Salesforce.com to help structure a more thoughtful look at your vision, values, methods (goals), obstacles, and measures.

Example SWOT Objectives

Business SWOT Analysis

Set an Objective

ex: To be named the leader by Gartner for our category

Perform a Business SWOT Analysis

What are our inherent strengths for this category, what are our inherent weaknesses that are holding us back in this category, what external factors might create unique opportunities for us to be even stronger in this category, what external threats could really harm our ability to become the leader in the category?

Use SWOT Analysis to Create a Winning Product

Set an Objective

ex: To achieve 30% market share in 24 months

Perform a Product SWOT Analysis

What internal or product strengths will lead us to achieve 30% market share, what internal or product weaknesses might hold us back, what external factors may present themselves as opportunities to help us achieve 30% market share, what external threats could derail our success?

Recent article: SWOT Analysis Product Example

Meeting Agenda SWOT Analysis

Set an Objective

ex: To drive alignment on our decision to move forward with international expansion

Perform a Meeting Agenda SWOT Analysis

What do you expect to be your meeting strengths, what do you currently anticipate could be weaknesses to your meeting, what could be an opportunity to really make this meeting an even bigger success, what could totally derail or threaten the success of your meeting?

Future Event SWOT Analysis

Set an Objective

ex: To have a wildly successful team meeting

Perform a Future SWOT Analysis

What do we expect to be our events strengths, what might be our weaknesses you will need to overcome, what additional opportunities might present themselves, what threats should be look out for?

Morning Routine SWOT Analysis

Set an Objective

ex: To make today a successful and productive day

Perform a Morning Routine SWOT Analysis

What do we expect to be our strengths today, what might be our weaknesses we will need to overcome, what additional opportunities could we pursue today, what could threaten our success today?

Weekly SWOT Analysis

Set an Objective

ex: To have a highly productive and strategic week. One of our best weeks yet.

Perform a Weekly SWOT Analysis

What do we expect to be our strengths next week, what might be our weaknesses we will need to overcome next week, what additional opportunities could we pursue next week, what could threaten our ability to be wildly successful next week?

Recent article: The Weekly SWOT Analysis Plan

Additional Areas to Use SWOT Analysis?

Hiring Decisions

Have interview teams collaborate on reviewing a candidates Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats for a specific role.

Product Strategy

What are we selling?  What is our products strategic position?  Ask your key customers to provide input.

Process Strategy

How are we selling it? What's working?  What's not working?  Where are there opportunities?  What are the threats?

Customer Analysis

What is your position in a market?  Look at your organization through the eyes of a customer.  How would they design your SWOT?

Partner Analysis

What is your position with a partner?  How does the partner see you in SWOT terms?  

Finance Strategy

Design a SWOT for price, profitability, margin, international expansion.