Using the SWOT Analysis in a practical and effective way is perhaps most of us wanted to achieve. Conducting a SWOT Analysis can be quite a challenging task when you are not so experience. this article is written as an alternative way to conduct a SWOT Analysis. It illustrates the What? When and How? It can be done in a simplistic way.
WHAT IS SWOT ANALYSIS?
S. W. O. T. is an abbreviation for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a situation analytical tool to evaluate a business environment, competitive situation of an organization or even a problem.
Why I called it a situational analysis? Because it evaluate the perception of a user on an organization's internal Strength & Weakness as well as external Opportunities & Threats based on the knowledge of t he user has with the business environment outside the organization.
WHEN TO USE SWOT ANALYSIS?
SWOT Analysis is one of the simple tool used to do a quick analysis about an organization. A full SWOT analysis is normally used as an additional tool to Strategic Planning. Otherwise, it may be used for various other situations. There are cases where the SWOT Analysis is used to determine internal capability only i. e. evaluating the Strengths and Weaknesses. Example, it may be used to plan for new product launching, increase market share, venture into new business, evaluate your own operation capability or use it to solve a problem.
HOW TO USE SWOT ANALYSIS?
Although it is quite easy to use SWOT Analysis, it is rather challenging to master it. You may use it in a team or by yourself. If you use it in a team, then you need to use the brainstorming tool to gather ideas about the four factors of SWOT from the team members. If you do it by yourself, then you are the only one who give all the ideas about the SWOT factors. Whichever approach you take, you would ask what are the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats of an organization or situation you are in. Then list them appropriately as the example below:-
- Strong financial
- skillful workforce
- high quality product and services
- high turnover
- slow in new product design
- bureaucratic management
- New market is open up ( e. g. AFTA, WTO )
- New mega project is in the pipe line
- customer is more quality conscious
- low entry barrier
- price war
- competitor from AFTA and WTO countries
- It should be emphasized that Strength & Weakness are referred to internal factors whereas Opportunities and Threats are referred to External factors.
- Items identified by SWOT is non factual during the initial use of the tools. As you gain more experience, you should verify the items brainstormed during the SWOT.
- Although conceptually these two factors are clearly identified, many of my participants use them interchangeably.
In conclusion, SWOT analysis can be conduct in various way. It is important to suit the members in your team in order to maximize their knowledge about the subject. On the other hand, you as a team leader should screen out clearly unrelated items.
Disclaimer: All rights reserved. This article is written by the author based on his practical application experience. All definitions and interpretation of terminology are his point of view and has it has no intention to conflict with experts in similar topic. The author holds no responsibility for the use of this article in any way.
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About the Author: Dr. LM Foong, PhD
He provides consulting services specializing in TQM Implementations in manufacturing and service sector. He provides facilitation workshops and hands-on application in Cost Reduction and Productivity Improvement projects. He publishes TQM articles, ebooks, case studies, trainer manual and presentation slides. Please Visit my Web Site http://www.tqmcasestudies.com for other TQM related matters. He can be contacted at http://www.tqmcasestudies.com/ContactUs.html