Updated: Mar 21
Yesterday, we introduced the importance of brainstorming as an entrepreneur to the reader. Today, we will explore the technique of THE S.W.O.T analysis. The S.W.O.T analysis is a standard business technique used to diagnose a problem in a business, unit, group, product, or service. S.W.O.T is categorized as one of the many Analytical brainstorming techniques. Yesterday's blog highlighted the importance of brainstorming and, more specifically, how it assists in business growth. Due to the technical aspect of brainstorming, CPR LLC will explore one technique at a time beginning with the S.W.O.T analysis. Let's proceed!
Many organizations use a S.W.O.T analysis to identify the internal climate within an organization while surveying the external environment. STRENGTH, WEAKNESS, OPPORTUNITY, THREAT (S.W.O.T) analysis is used to avert the threat, convert the problem into a salient business opportunity, then revert the organization’s weakness to the benefit of the organization. S.W.O.T analysis is a simple brainstorming technique that saves the organization $$. S.W.O.T analysis is also incorporated in your business plan. If you have not incorporated S.W.O.T in your business plan, call CPR LLC today to assist with this process. Outside of a business plan, S.W.O.T can enhance creativity to determine whether a project is worth initiating. When used during brainstorming sessions, S.W.O.T analysis can effectively collaborate across entire business departments.
The first step is identifying an independent facilitator with experience facilitating and applying the S.W.O.T analysis tool. The designee does not need to know your company or industry. Consultant Proficiency Resources (CPR) LLC recommends the facilitator be external as a rule of thumb. This lends to applying fresh eyes to your business. This is true for large corporations or small businesses. A CEO, HR Director, or a director within the same organization is not as effective as an experienced external facilitator.
In addition to identifying a facilitator, CPR LLC recommends sending out an email to participants to brainstorm independently. For first-time participants who might be intimidated about the process, this will ensure everyone has input.
Set the climate in the room, if on-site or virtually. Commence with the goal of the exercise and ensure everyone is aware that their feedback is vital to the process. The CEO or designee must convey this. Setting a suitable climate or tone early on is very important. Have a plan with the understanding of candidly exploring the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats within the organization, unit, department, product, or service.
Step 3 the facilitator now takes the lead. You can now relax. The facilitator will first ask everyone to submit their documented strengths as instructed by the email. Strengths will be documented and placed on the screen or flip chart so everyone can see the responses simultaneously. Many areas of strength include leadership style, organization work culture, quality of product or services, innovation, etc. After reviewing, the facilitator goes around the room and solicit additional ideas that may arise. As a professional, the facilitator will not document the same strength. However, the facilitator should record the number of times each element appears from the lists. At the end of the SWOT analysis, conflicting data may debut on the chart. However, the expert will assist in teasing it out. At this point, the goal is to capture as many ideas on the flip charts as possible. Evaluation will take place later.
The facilitator will consolidate overlapping data. The participants will direct the expert on which items can be combined under the same subject. This is also the opportunity to clarify questions from the facilitator to the participant and the reverse. This is where the facilitator will probe further into how your organization conducts business. So do not take it personally; maintain your professionalism.
First, identify the top six strengths update the board accordingly so participants can view the list. Subsequently, the facilitator will request the top three of the six strengths. While some experts go straight to the top three, the top six then drill down to the top three more effectively for first-time participants. The facilitator may open up the floor for discussion by providing ties for the top strength.
Summarize strengths by having a group discussion. Ensure each participant has the exact definition of each element. The facilitator may document the definitions and probe further. When there is consensus on the definitions, all participants should finalize their top strength list and agree upon it.
The above six steps must be repeated for the last three attributes within the S.W.O.T analysis. That is, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Also, keep in mind that the goal of converting a weakness or threat to an opportunity and or strength is possible.
Step 8-Final Step
The final step is to summarize the data for each quadrant and devise a workable plan.
Studies illustrate that applying the S.W.O.T analysis brainstorming technique typically presents new data to the business leader. It typically unveils what was hidden or not realized from inception. Furthermore, understanding the external threats will prepare you for the unexpected. What occurs worldwide may impact your local business in today's global interdependence. Stay focused with engines reviving.
Below is a SWOT analysis for Starbucks.
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Consultant Proficiency Resources LLC