5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis

The SWOT analysis is one of the most common diagnostic tools used in business. Its four simple perspectives provide a framework which is easy to follow and yet the tool is so often misunderstood.

SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

The Strengths and Weaknesses are internal factors, the opportunities and threats are external factors. Some advocate the use of PRIMO-F to identify Strengths and Weaknesses and PESTLE for external factors…

so PRIMO-F + PESTLE = SWOT

 

Simple rules for a successful SWOT analysis

  • Be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization
  • The Analysis should distinguish between where your organization is today, and where it could be in the future.
  • Be specific. Avoid grey areas
  • Always analyse in relation to your competition i.e. better than or worse than your competition
  • Keep your SWOT short and simple – but only as short and simple as the application or situation demands – it is about ‘fitness for purpose’
  • Avoid unnecessary complexity and over analysis
  • There is little point in listing an Opportunity (O) if the same opportunity is available to competitors
  • It is pointless to say you have Strengths (S) if your competitors have the same

  

The Top 5 mistakes:

  1. An unclear goal
  2. Maintaining too narrow of a focus
  3. Neglecting input from others
  4. Performing an analysis only once
  5. Reliance on SWOT as a holistic diagnostic strategy

A concise SWOT Analysis

Keep your SWOT analysis short and focused. If it becomes too long-winded, you’ll soon forget some of the more important points and it will become less effective in the long term.

Great SWOT Strengths

When considering your SWOT strengths, it’s all too easy to congratulate yourself and identify what you think it is that makes you great. Instead, flip the coin and consider what it is that your customers do/will think are your strengths.

Few Weaknesses

Having written a long list of SWOT based strengths for your organization, it’s also very easy to become a bit jaded and quickly fly over your weakness, without a critical eye. As a result, count up the number of SWOT based strengths, and then write twice as many weakness. This will force you to take a deeper look at the areas that you need to improve.

Opportunities

By considering your SWOT analysis based opportunities, you get to play god with your future. It’s all too easy to look at opportunities with rose-tinted glasses and predict opportunities that don’t actually exist. Instead, look at the opportunities that are available to you today.

Threats

Again, as with SWOT weaknesses, when you consider your SWOT threats, you have to take a cold hearted look at some of the things that you’d probably rather ignore.

Conclusion

The SWOT is a valuable tool that in the right hands and with the appropriate level of effort can provide a valuable insight into current and future strategy.

Remember to consider the results of the SWOT analysis as just one tool in a variety of analysis methods that can form together to create a more realistic analysis of your organization

A Guide to SWOT analysis


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Mike Morrison

Mike Morrison is a consultant and change agent specialising in developing skills in senior people to increase organizational performance.
Mike is also founder & director of RapidBI, an organizational effectiveness consultancy.

Comments

  1. RT@rapidbi "5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis" #HR ~ME: We used exit interview data to create SWOT.

  2. RT @rapidbi New Management, Leadership & Business Articles-5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis #lt

  3. @rapidbi RT5 common mistakes in SWOT analysis: . We should do a SWOT of SWOT

  4. RT @rapidbi: 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis (1 of the most common diagnostic tools used)

  5. RT @rapidbi: 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis: The SWOT analysis is one of the most common..

  6. 5 common mistakes in SWOT analysis | Management, Leadership …


  7. 5 common mistakes in SWOT analysis

  8. RT @MLMLeadership 5 common mistakes in SWOT analysis | Management, Leadership …

  9. andrea hammer says:

    RT @rapidbi 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis plus guide http://rapidbi.com/SWOTanalysis

  10. 5 common mistakes in SWOT analysis | RapidBI – Rapid Business Improvement

  11. Doing a SWOT Analysis

  12. Useful Blog post: #hr

  13. 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis http://t.co/4s94H1gB

  14. 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis http://t.co/4s94H1gB

  15. Useful Blog post: http://t.co/84AvLNhb #biz

  16. Useful Blog post: http://t.co/84AvLNhb #biz

  17. Useful Blog post: http://t.co/84Ared81 #biz

Trackbacks

  1. Twitter Comment


    RT@rapidbi 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis: The SWOT analysis is one of the most common dia.. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  2. Twitter Comment


    @rapidbi RT5 common mistakes in SWOT analysis: [link to post]. We should do a SWOT of SWOT

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  3. Twitter Comment


    RT @rapidbi: 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis (1 of the most common diagnostic tools used) [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  4. Twitter Comment


    RT @rapidbi: 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis: The SWOT analysis is one of the most common.. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  5. Twitter Comment


    5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis by @rapidbi [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  6. projektlotse (andrea hammer) says:

    Twitter Comment


    RT @rapidbi 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis [link to post] plus guide http://rapidbi.com/SWOTanalysis

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  7. Twitter Comment


    RT @rapidbi: New article- 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  8. MelonScooter (MelonScooter) says:

    Twitter Comment

    RT @rapidbi New article- 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  9. Twitter Comment


    @rapidbi sounds interesting. Will gave to give that a read.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  10. Twitter Comment


    RT @StartupLab 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  11. Twitter Comment


    RT @StartupLab 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis [link to post] less than 5 seconds ago

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  12. Twitter Comment


    5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis [link to post]

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  13. Twitter Comment


    RT @StartupLab 5 common mistakes in doing a SWOT analysis [link to post] – just what I was looking to compare #ppc B.M. solutions

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  14. 6 Creative Ways to Stand Out in the Job Search! – Unlimited Job Postings powered by Job Board Engine says:

    [...] SWOT is a strategic planning tool.  It stands for Strengths (attributes helpful to achieving the objective), Weaknesses (attributes harmful to achieving the objective), Opportunities (external conditions that will be helpful to achieving the objective), and Threats (external obstacles or conditions that will harm the process).  Look at the picture–it helps.  Doing a SWOT analysis on the company demonstrates your drive, commitment, and skills, along with helping you create a better 30/60/90-day plan.   Click this link for advice on how to do one and avoid mistakes.  [...]

  15. 6 Creative Ways to Stand Out in the Job Search! (guest blog by Peggy McKee) « Corn On The Job says:

    [...] SWOT is a strategic planning tool.  It stands for Strengths (attributes helpful to achieving the objective), Weaknesses (attributes harmful to achieving the objective), Opportunities (external conditions that will be helpful to achieving the objective), and Threats (external obstacles or conditions that will harm the process).  Look at the picture–it helps.  Doing a SWOT analysis on the company demonstrates your drive, commitment, and skills, along with helping you create a better 30/60/90-day plan.   Click here for advice on how to do one and avoid mistakes.  [...]

  16. 6 Creative Ways to Stand Out in the Job Search! « Weight Loss says:

    [...] SWOT is a strategic planning tool.  It stands for Strengths (attributes helpful to achieving the objective), Weaknesses (attributes harmful to achieving the objective), Opportunities (external conditions that will be helpful to achieving the objective), and Threats (external obstacles or conditions that will harm the process).  Look at the picture–it helps.  Doing a SWOT analysis on the company demonstrates your drive, commitment, and skills, along with helping you create a better 30/60/90-day plan. Click here for advice on how to do one and avoid mistakes. [...]

Add Comment Register



Speak Your Mind