A SWOT Analysis offers an organisation an insight into the current picture and identifies Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
You can use this analysis tool to cover projects or the organisation as a whole, it can inform strategic planning, help you establish the case for a project or to review what impact your work is having and what you could improve. It can be hugely helpful in the decision-making process.
One of the main features we love at Active Outcomes is that it acts as a springboard, allowing you to look objectively at internal and external factors and how they relate to your work. Simply working through and listing items under each of the four headings often leads to the discovery of new connections between your strengths and opportunities that you had never realised before. It also helps you see where you could make improvements to strengthen your organisation and prevent against any outside threats becoming reality.
It doesn’t need to be complicated, you can get started with a simple table that covers each of the four categories as described below:
- Strengths: what does your organisation or project have to offer that gives it a distinct advantage?
- Weaknesses: what characteristics might place your project or organisation at a disadvantage when compared with others?
- Opportunities: is there anything your organisation could be doing better and fully exploiting internally or externally to gain an advantage?
- Threats: can you forsee any environmental factors (internal or external) that could potentially cause issues for your project or organisation?
Strengths and Weaknesses should focus on internal factors, what you could be doing better and what you already do well.
Opportunities and Threats cover external factors, so consider what are you competitors doing, are there any new regulations on the horizon, do you need to update equipment, are there any opportunities to partner with other organisations to develop your service and so on.
We have included a PDF template for you to download and print (available by clicking on the ‘SWOT Analysis Template’ link below) to get you started with the process.
This is what the template looks like:
As you can see, so far so simple. We suggest you print it off and get brainstorming ideas. It doesn’t have to be completed perfectly first time, it is a tool to get you thinking and making connections. Jot down all your ideas, scribble them out when they’re not right, think outside the box. Get your colleagues involved and see if they can suggest anything you might have missed. As with any tool of this nature, it is a platform, the harder you push off the further it will take you.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time to spend completing this analysis, it is such an easy way to set down your ideas about future direction and helps you see at-a-glance how your project could expand and what might threaten that growth it is worth putting aside a little time to work on it.
So what are you waiting for? Give it a try, and, as always, if you need any help get in touch at www.activeoutcomes.co.uk and we’ll be glad to offer some pointers. We offer a range of services to help with strategic planning and organisational reviews.