How important is a SWOT analysis in a strategic plan?
Our reader poll today asks: How important is a SWOT analysis in your strategic planning efforts?
– Critical — you can’t have a strategic plan without a SWOT: 22.76%
– Very — a SWOT is an important element of the plan: 34.14%
– Somewhat — a SWOT can help but it’s not required: 20.00%
– Not very — a SWOT has marginal value in planning: 5.86%
– Not at all — a SWOT is a waste of time: 1.38%
– What’s a SWOT analysis?: 15.86%
Understand the Market and Your Position. A SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) is clearly an important element of any strategic plan. For those who see it as less important, I suspect it’s because the SWOT is done and then disregarded. To use it effectively, think through the implications of the SWOT. The strategic themes you identify in the SWOT should point you in the direction of major initiatives to pursue. The better your SWOT is linked to your ultimate strategy, the more successful you can be. If you need a primer or a brush up on conducting a SWOT, here’s a quick perspective on the topic.
Do you agree with these poll results? Let us know in the comments below!
– Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC
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These results were originally a SmartPulse poll in SmartBrief on Leadership which tracks feedback from more than 200,000 business leaders. Get smarter on leadership and sign up for the SmartBrief on Leadership e-newsletter.
In my experience SWOT analysis CAN be helpful BUT the vast majority of the SWOTs I have see have done little to advance the success of the organisation concerned. I have seen two common traits amongst the majority of SWOTs I have seen:
a.Too little attention on considering strengths (and weaknesses) against the alternative providers of products / services the clients have
b. Insufficient consideration us given to the evolving dynamics of the market place
Prior to doing a SWOT I encourage use of a Porter 5 Force analysis (complemented with vest specific consideration of the power of complementary products and Governments [regulators])