Mar 27, 2018

Focus Your Efforts & Energize Your Team With A SWOT Analysis

By: Polly Yakovich


Are you doing a lot of things, but often wondering if they're the "right" things? Is your team running in different directions, executing a strategy that you haven't revisited in a while? Are people tired, and are you wondering if there is anything you can take off their plates? Have you lost sight of how your daily work fits into the larger objectives and goals of your department, or your organization?

It might be time to stop and do a SWOT analysis. 

A SWOT analysis is usually used as part of a bigger strategic planning effort. It can also be a great exercise if you need to engage with a new client, orient yourself to managing a new team, or get everyone back on the same page.

All it takes is a couple hours and a whiteboard. Draw a large 4-part square and label each quadrant.

The first two categories are internal to your organization or your team:

Strengths - What are you good at? What resources do you have? What have you accomplished? What's going well or is easy to execute? What gives people energy and enthusiasm? When do you feel most successful?

Weaknesses - What is missing from your team? Where are you confused about your work? What tools do you need? What things drag you down? What are you bad at?

The next two are external:

Opportunities - What's happening in the marketplace? What technologies are out there could make your work easier to execute or help you reach new people? What people or resources would help you be more effective?

Threats - What are your competitors doing? Are there any industry regulations that could affect your work? What partnerships are at risk? Any PR risks on the horizon?

Spend a couple of hours allowing your team to put everything up on the board. 

Then use these items to coalesce around a simple strategy that answers two questions:

  1. How will you work together to build on strengths and work around or overcome weaknesses?
  2. How will you capitalize on opportunities and minimize threats?

Come back to this exercise and accompanying plan throughout the year. It's a great touchstone to help your team stay on track!



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