A very useful tool to be used as a manager or leader is a SWOT Analysis. Many workshops and certifications I have participated in highlight and recommend utilizing a SWOT Analysis as a key ingredient in large and small projects as well as planning for long term strategies such as your vision.
Let me share a little with you to get you started (“I Power Seeds“).
SWOT stands for:
A SWOT analysis allows you to examine your organization’s internal and external elements that define successes and challenges. As you use a SWOT analysis, you ask and answer questions to generate meaningful information for each category or element to identify a competitive advantage. The analysis will assist you to move forward and effectively begin to strategically identify key areas of growth in order to create a plan for future development.
Strengths: characteristics of the business or project that give it an advantage over others
Weaknesses: characteristics of the business that place the business or project at a disadvantage relative to others
Opportunities: elements in the environment that the business or project could exploit to its competitive advantage
Threats: elements in the environment that could cause trouble or issues for the business or project
The degree to which the internal environment of the company matches with the external environment will be realized by the outcomes of the analysis and ensuring there will be a strategic fit. By analyzing a SWOT, you (and other stakeholders or decision-makers) should consider whether the project or business objective is attainable. If the project or objective is not attainable, then you must select a different project or objective (or revise them) and repeat the SWOT process.
One way for you to try a SWOT Analysis yourself can be to identify:
• 3-5 strengths of your organization
• 3-5 weaknesses of your organization
• 3-5 opportunities of your organization
• 3-5 threats of your organization
Then create a visual of your SWOT Analysis using a web 2.0 tool or creating one in PowerPoint. Here is an example of one I did to give you an idea. Also notice the relevance of the colors.
Here is another example from Competitive Futures:
Also check out MindTools for additional templates and information. Here is one of their templates for SWOT: SWOT-Analysis-Worksheet-MindTools
Please comment or offer feedback, they are always encouraged and welcomed.
I hope you enjoy this tool and experience the insights it can provide to you and your team, business or organization.