Why the SWOT analysis remains an effective tool for decision making
This article was originally published at betterwithkick.com.
From deciding what to wear and the best route to avoid traffic to weather or not to take on that international work assignment and just about everything in between, our days are filled with decision making.
There are tons of tools out there to help make seemingly difficult or otherwise sticky decisions. One of my favorite go-tos is the “SWOT” analysis.
SWOT stands for: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats and is meant to help categorize a combination of internal and external factors resulting in a visual framework of whatever you’re working with.
Seriously, anything. It works on evaluating organizational strategy, starting new business units (or businesses), making hiring decisions, etc. Name any decision that could benefit from a visual list of weighing factors, SWOT is the answer.
Start by drawing up a four-section matrix, each square representing one piece of the SWOT, then fill it in.
- Strengths: Internal factors which are in your control and can contribute to the success of the subject being analyzed.
- Weaknesses: Internal factors which may or may not be in your control which could detract from the success of the subject being analyzed
- Opportunities: External factors which may be used to contribute to the success of the subject being analyzed.
- Threats: External factors which could threaten the success of the subject being analyzed.
Feeling stumped? Try performing the SWOT analysis backward — that is, start by listing out Threats and Opportunities before Strengths and Weaknesses.