How to Do a Swot Analysis Correctly
Originally published: 15/01/2018 16:03
Publication number: ELQ-34572-1
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How to Do a Swot Analysis Correctly

This guide takes you through HOW to examine each element of the SWOT analysis.


SWOT analysis is a widely used framework for strategic planning in which managers examine their company's internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats. However, companies that use this classic model run the risk of naval staring and favoring status quo strategies.

Here's some concrete advice on how to sidestep these pitfalls and make your strategy session more inspiring. Start by flipping the sequence of your SWOT agenda by placing the analysis of external threats and opportunities right upfront. This avoids getting stuck in a rabbit hole where you heatedly debate your own strengths and weaknesses while paying lip service to the far more complex and important changes happening in your external environment. This is especially key if you are in search of innovative moves and more dynamic business models.

  • Step n°1 |

    How to Examine Opportunities and Threats

    Rather than labeling external changes--for instance, an aging population or new regulations--as being good or bad, examine them without prejudice. Just call them forces or undercurrents and work hard to understand them.

    1. Keep your focus on the outside world (not yourselves). How is it changing and why? Be sure to cover key forces, including social, technological, economic, environmental, and technological drivers.

    2. Discourage fragmentary thinking (such as discussing just one force or one issue in isolation of others). Adopt a systems view.

    3. Be honest about what you can't predict about the future: list the major external uncertainties and discuss how they may play out.

    4. Assess which external changes you missed in the past and why. Are you any better this time around at scanning the periphery for weak signals? And if so, why?

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