When I first implemented a SWOT analysis at Absorption Corp we thought it was a “one and done” tool to focus our thinking on where we were as a company. It wasn’t until the conversation turned to our long term plan and the big issues each department was wrestling with that we understood that a SWOT analysis is part of circle of assessment, planning, and implementation. The SWOT analysis is a snap shot of where you are, but it is also a record of where you have been and what you have accomplished. The SWOT analysis can then focus attention on what’s changed and what’s next for the company.
We like to think linearly beginning with the company vision, moving to the strategic plan, which leads to action plans or objectives for the year. Conducting a SWOT analysis helps make sure all the pieces are in alignment and internally consistent. Business is in a constant state of assessment, mapping a course, and adapting to change. Without periodic review our action plans may not be taking us where we say we were headed.