The SWOT Tool: Frequently and Poorly UsedPosted: May 9, 2012
SWOT, short for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats is a tool frequently used in organization diagnostics and strategy development. It is also a tool that is often poorly used. Many SWOT analyses I have seen are rather superficial and seldom lead to many (or even any) significant moments of clarity or insight.
Is the tool flawed? Not really; what is more often the case is that the people using the framework lack a clear and rigorous idea of just what they are trying to do in each of the four quadrants and rarely then look at the four pair-wise combinations of Strengths-Opportunities etcetera. Similarly, they seldom rigorously define the set of issues they should consider with the Internal pair (Strengths and Weaknesses) and the External pair (Opportunities and Threats).
Below is an approach to looking at the SWOT combinations that I have found leads to more insightful discussions.