A SWOT analysis is an easy-to-use solution to help teams appraise different business opportunities. It combines elements of competitive analysis and gap analysis to build a comprehensive picture of a business.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats — and each category offers your team the chance to look at what you’re analyzing clearly and objectively.
The origins of SWOT analysis are difficult to pinpoint. It’s most often credited to two Harvard Business School (HBS) Policy Unit Professors, George Albert Smith Jr. and C. Roland Christensen, who came up with the idea in the early 1950s. Later in the 1950s, their colleague Professor Kenneth Andrews developed its usage and application. The HBS unit continued to develop SWOT during the 1960s into the tool we use today.
SWOT analysis can work for almost anything — a business plan, a project, an idea or even a job candidate. Small teams can use SWOTs to gather different perspectives to make informed decisions. Follow this approach to get started, or create a variation that suits your team’s unique needs.
By visualizing these positive and negative factors as a team, you’ll enable every voice to be heard and drive deeper assessment of the topic under discussion. And who knows — your SWOT analysis just might inspire strategic possibilities you’d never considered.