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Frameworks: The SWOT - The Daily PPILL #411
The Swiss army knife of strategic management
I call it the Swiss army knife of strategic management tools, because this tool is equally useful uncovering blindspots in a multi-million dollar initiative or for just weighing your options when out with friends and about to order yet another drink.
If you have been around in business for more than a few months, you have probably seen this, but her it goes anyway, the standard rendition looks something like this:
As you can see SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. The first two are mostly considered internal, or intrinsic to the organization or the individual, while the two last ones, or on the bottom of the quadrant are external. Strengths and weaknesses are also “systemic” or something that describes the characteristics of the organization or individual. These are traits that are largely maintained over time, while opportunities and threats have to do more with transitory or current issues.
Importantly, Strengths and Opportunities are on the positive side, while Weaknesses and Threats are negative.
The beauty of the SWOT is that is the formalization of something that goes on in our minds all the time, naturally. We do this every time we are weighing our options, and trying to calibrate our chances of success, may these be landing a dive into the pool from the platform, trying to find a parking spot at a busy lot, or thinking whether we should approach someone or not. The real benefit of putting it in writing is that we can discuss it TOGETHER, and use our collective brain power to come up with the best version of a SWOT.
VERY SIMPLE, but because of that, very useful.