A SWOT Analysis is Part of the Planning Continuum

illustration, arrows moving in a circle from SWOT to Growth Strategy to Strategic Plan to Implementation and back to SWOTWhen 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.

illustration, arrows moving in a circle from SWOT to Growth Strategy to Strategic Plan to Implementation and back to SWOT

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.

Shawn

2 thoughts on “A SWOT Analysis is Part of the Planning Continuum

  1. Good article. I have found that the SWOT analysis works best when coupled with an OODA loop (Orient, Observe, Decide, Act) without a constant review and action on SWOT elements it looses its effectiveness.

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    • Jim, I would agree. SWOT is a snap shot in time that needs to be reviewed and adjusted as internal issues are addressed and external issues change. I’m not familiar with the OODA loop but the steps make sense and point to action over analysis which is key to both adapting and growth.

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