I have worked with the SWOT analysis for an endless amount of time and I have done that for various organizations. As an analysis tool, SWOT is easy to explain and understand. All those sessions gave me insight into how teams work together when using the SWOT. And how useful a SWOT analysis can be for organizations that are struggling with their identity and how they can then move forward in a changing society.
Points to consider in a SWOT analysis
However, it is not easy to make a SWOT successful. This often has to do with the different backgrounds of participants beforehand and the too general approach chosen at the start of a SWOT analysis.
- Often participants don’t seem to have exactly the same thoughts about what a SWOT is about.
- Too many general points are mentioned, which contribute little to the analysis; you have little use for it.
- Because the opportunities only surface after the strengths and weaknesses, participants automatically feel limited. As a result, opportunities are missed.
In a SWOT, one participant is much less detailed than the other when it comes to adding up points; the joint focus is lacking. The weaknesses and threats often give an unsatisfactory and even negative feeling, as a result of which the energy in a team disappears and the meeting goes out like a candle. This requires a lot of extra attention from the manager to maintain motivation within the SWOT team.
The end result, a strategic analysis, is not enough to continue the next day full of positive energy. Much more needs to be done to keep employees from moving. Because the SWOT only provides an analysis, tools are included that try to eliminate or circumvent the above points. That feels a bit artificial.
The power of a SWOT analysis
The SWOT analysis has a number of strengths. It offers the possibility to compare internal (sterngth and weaknesses) and external (opportunities and threats) factors.
- What strengths can we use, for example, to seize opportunities that arise?
- And which weaknesses do we need to improve in order to make a success of the opportunities offered?
- The question is, is that enough to get to work enthusiastically at the office the next day?
Objectives and an action plan are missing and are at best appointed at the last minute. However, it does not fit, so that the day often ends with a hangover.
Isn’t it the right time to set concrete goals when you have insight into the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities?
And wouldn’t it be nice if there was also a concrete action plan immediately after you identified the obstacles that stand in the way of achieving the goals?
The power of the SWOT analysis is often overshadowed by the limited change power it assumes.
How do you make a SWOT analysis more meaningful?
You can make a SWOT analysis more useful by using some additional tools. These extra tools provide better results and ultimately lead to a global points plan. You can then also sort such a points plan by importance. More is not possible due to lack of time.
SWOT 2.0 stands for Focus, Potential, Goals, Barriers and Actions. More information about SWOT 2.0 can be found in these articles:
The disadvantage of these extra tools is that due to this lack of time, they are not worked out properly. The question is therefore whether the SWOT analysis needs to be revised on a number of points? Not by using more separate advice tools. But especially by looking carefully at whether you need to change something in the core of the SWOT analysis. SWOT 2.0 does that!
SWOT 2.0: a big step further
I’ve been reviewing and modifying a SWOT for years. It was not easy to arrive at a change-oriented approach from the SWOT analysis (SWOT 2.0). But no matter how widely used SWOT analysis is, it no longer meets today’s requirements. An analysis, followed by objectives and an action plan. So you can get started the next day. That requires the present time.
Finally, the other way came. You can call it SWOT 2.0 or even label it as a brand new approach. This new approach leads to clear goals, more concrete results and as part of this an action plan. I have tested this new approach, SWOT 2.0, more than 25 times. My conclusion is now: in more than 80% of the cases, this approach is better than SWOT.