A SWOT Analysis Requires More Than One Point of View

Illustration of eyeball looking at managment, employees, customers, vendors and the industry for a SWOT analysisA SWOT Analysis is a snapshot in time.

It may not be the same in six months. It should not be the same in two years- your company, industry and the economy will change over time and effect what is a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity or Threat to your company.

Who should prepare the SWOT analysis for the company?

Management has the responsibility but theirs is not the only perspective, and you could argue that it isn’t the most important assessment of the situation.  The point of view of your staff and of your customers and vendors is critical.  They are at the “point of change” where the SWOT issues are discovered.  This 360 degree holistic evaluation may point out information that is new to management, or it my uncover the disconnect between what management wishes the situation was and reality.   Illustration of eyeball looking at managment, employees, customers, vendors and the industry for a SWOT analysis Strengths and Weaknesses are generally a commentary on the internal operations of the company while Opportunities and Threats consider the macro factors of industry, competitors, economic drivers and regulation.

Meaningful input from those outside the management circle requires:

  • An explanation of the purpose of a SWOT analysis
  • A request for truthful and reflective comments
  • Time to thoughtfully consider the questions
  • Follow up questions to probe for deeper meaning, motivations and connections to other observations

Management must be willing to accept the comprehensive evaluation.  Perception is reality even when it differs from what we think it is, or wish it was.

Shawn

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