I was never been a big fan of the SWOT analysis. Mainly because it always seemed to be one of those exercises that merely justified a marketing consultant’s time and billable hours.
So, if you aren’t familiar, a SWOT analysis is an exercise where you identify your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Put very simply, once you identify these things, you can then make very strategic decisions about how to better allocate talent and resources to maximize strengths, buttress weaknesses, capitalize on opportunities, and mitigate threats.
Let me officially declare: I was a fool with regards to poo pooing the power of a SWOT analysis.
It can be very eye opening.
Now, you don’t need to hire a consultant to facilitate one, in my opinion. Unless you need someone to conduct an honest one. [Honesty is critical with a SWOT analysis. If you fib and aren't honest in assessing your strengths and weaknesses, the SWOT analysis is totally useless.]
The second piece of advice with regards to the (honest) results of a SWOT analysis? Do something meaningful with the results.
If the outcome is obvious, if the clear direction an individual should take is obvious, go that way. Cater to those strengths (or steer away from those weaknesses).
If you bury your head in the sand, and ultimately wonder why nothing changes, there was no point to the exercise in the first place.
I, for one, promise to do a mini-SWOT analysis on things (however minor) on a much more frequent basis. It is a very effective tool to make a quick determination of the value of a person/process/concept. In fact, I did three small ones today to gauge my thinking on a couple aspects of my business.
It changed my thinking on a few things, let me assure you…