SWOT Analysis is still the most commonly used strategic planning tool in the world and unfortunately, one of the most misused. A good SWOT Analysis can be sabotaged by the Anti-Strategy Squad if you don’t follow some simple guidelines:
1. Laundry List: SWOT is not designed to be a catch-all for everything that’s happening in your business so ditch the laundry lists of 10-15 items in each area and edit to the top 3-5. If we’re truly using this as a thinking and planning tool, it needs to be edited to only those items that will make or break the business this year.
2. Causes versus effects: It’s great that you have the number one market share but listing this as a strength doesn’t help others understand the “why.” List the cause of the number one market share and it becomes a potentially transferable.
3. From SWOT to Strategy: SWOT Analysis can provide the forum for a rigorous discussion about the key business issues. But then what? Consider using the SWOT Alignment tool to transform the SWOT into potential strategies. Here is an example from the new business graphic novel, StrategyMan vs. The Anti-Strategy Squad:
In the online gamified StrategyMan Learning System, the management team from Technobody provide an example of how SWOT BOT can derail a good SWOT Analysis: