Many of the world’s leading organizations have relied on SWOT analysis to guide their strategic decisions since the tool was developed in the mid-1960s, but you don’t have to be a big business or major brand to benefit from the process. SWOT analysis benefits teams by helping them recognize their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Based on that analysis, they can better plan and strategize for success and growth.
What is SWOT analysis?
What is SWOT analysis? Let’s start with defining SWOT:
S = Strengths – What internal qualities give your team a competitive advantage?
W = Weaknesses – What internal weaknesses leave your team vulnerable to threats, loss or failure?
O = Opportunities – What external conditions can result in growth for your team?
T = Threats – What external conditions could threaten your team’s success and growth?
A SWOT analysis, therefore, is a planning technique used to identify these important strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to a team, project or business. By performing SWOT analysis, teams can better understand their efficiencies and uncover areas of improvement, while developing strategies to take advantage of strengths and counteract weaknesses.
Why use SWOT analysis?
SWOT analysis is useful to teams for a variety of reasons. Identifying a team’s strengths helps it to focus on growth and remain competitive. Identifying weaknesses helps teams to improve processes and operations, cut costs and create strategic contingency plans.
Meanwhile, understanding a team’s opportunities and risks promotes strategic development based on its strengths and weaknesses. It all adds up to better overall team function and business operation. Plus, plotting the analysis in writing creates a valuable data visualization tool that helps teams envision business plans, objectives and strategies.
Steps to conducting SWOT analysis
So, you know that conducting SWOT analysis will benefit your team, but how do you do it? You can reference a variety of SWOT templates and other SWOT analysis examples by major brands and small businesses. No matter what SWOT sample you start with, however, you’ll want to cover the following points:
1. Collaborate on SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis is not a solo activity. For teams to benefit from SWOT analysis, it’s vital they collaborate throughout the process. Obtain feedback from team members on their ideas of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and be sure to use some of the most creative suggestions. Present the SWOT analysis and results to the entire team so that every member can benefit from the greater understanding.
2. List internal strengths
Look at the internal workings of your team. What are your strengths? What makes your team competitive? What do you do best as individuals and as a unit? What are you doing right? List any attributes that positively contribute to your team’s performance.
3. List your team’s weaknesses
Be completely honest here… what are your weaknesses? What attributes of the team hinder your progress and growth? What about the weaknesses of individual team members? What can you improve? List any internal weaknesses that compromise performance.
4. Determine your opportunities
Now it’s time to take a look at external factors impacting your team. In what situations can you put your strengths to use? After brainstorming for known opportunities, look at your list of strengths and consider ways you can put them into action for the betterment of your team’s performance. Collaboration is key, as every team member might have their own ideas for opportunities to improve and excel.
5. List external threats to the team
What threats is your team facing? External forces that can’t be completely controlled, like a budget cut or competitor launch, should be listed as threats in the SWOT analysis. Other examples of threats might be a lack of training, increased regulation or other external market factors.
6. Design strategies for improvement
Once you’ve completed your SWOT analysis, it’s time to strategize. What can the team do to take advantage of its strengths and opportunities while overcoming its weaknesses and threats? Remember to attack opportunities by building upon your strengths, find ways to strengthen your weaknesses and develop strategies to overcome or eliminate threats. Look at ways to maximize the strengths of the team as a whole as well as every individual team member.
7. Monitor your progress
It’s not enough to do a SWOT analysis, develop strategies and move along. It’s important to monitor any strategic implementation to measure progress. Following the SWOT analysis, plan regular team meetings to evaluate that progress and make necessary changes when necessary.
Beautiful.ai’s SWOT analysis template makes it a breeze for teams to present their strategic planning. Just add your content and watch as artificial intelligence designs the SWOT matrix based on professional principles of good design. In fact, Beautiful.ai’s Teams Plan offers everything teams need to design decks quickly, collaboratively and on brand.