The Grey Chronicles

2008.November.8

SWOT: An Introduction


When I was assigned as an Analyst in the Business Strategy department, I have prepared a SWOT article which was adopted by the department head as his own. Then he proceeded with a directive that I complete the matrix by myself. Incidentally, he gave me copies of the management minutes of meeting and pick out some of the strategies discussed therein and include it in the SWOT matrix. I argued then that based on several books and studies on Strategy, an effective corporate SWOT analyses should involve all the management staff of the company. Thus, he suggested that I prepare some sort of a lecture on SWOT to be given to these management staff. He directed me to conduct the seminar myself, and I begged off citing that because he was supposedly the head of the Business Strategy, the seminar would be perceived important if he was the one who would conduct the orientation. Anyway, the department itself was dissolved on December 2005 before the SWOT seminar could be conducted.

After three years, the SWOT matrix came back to the management’s consciousness and I was tasked to lecture on the formulation of a SWOT Matrix for Operations. This time with the Business Strategy department already gone, there was no specific department which could handle this activity. Management saw the need for the SWOT analysis to examine the effect the economic crises the U.S.A. which in turn affected the global economy.

My lecture basically include four major parts: the operational definitions of terms; the typical questions for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats; the differentiation of Objectives, Strategies and Policies; and the activities in the workshop. The lecture was primarily based on three references [see Notes below]. Furthermore, having done a SWOT for NSC in my thesis, I also included this as an example.


The lecture is summarized below:

SWOT Brief Matrix

SWOT Brief Matrix

The strategy is to look at the organizations current performance (strengths and weaknesses) and factors in the external environment (opportunities and threats) that might affect the organizations’ future.

Strength is something that we truly do well; Weakness is a real gap, a deficiency, a problem, or a key metric that is going south; Opportunity is a a favorable external condition and Weakness is something external to the business that can potentially impact it negatively. To turn the SWOT to strategies, turn the Negatives into Positives: thus, Opportunities to Strengths [S-O Strategies]; Weaknesses to Opportunities [S-O Strategies]; Threats to Strengths [S-T Strategies]; and Threats to Weaknesses [W-T Strategies].

Objectives are Specific Results that an organization seeks to achieve in pursuing the basic mission, usually employing SMART (Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based). Strategies are Action Plans to undertake in response to or in anticipation of the environment to accomplish the objectives.
Policies are Implementing Guidelines to achieve the objectives and strategies.

Workshop involved: Brainstorming, the itemization of Internal–External Factors; Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats and the filling-up of the SWOT Template; Turning the SWOT to Strategies using the SWOT Matrix and lastly, Prioritization which deals with the expected problems or the Action Plan to implement the strategies, a list of further investigation requirements [Results], responsible person and deadline [Tasks].

A copy of the Powerpoint presentation can be downloaded here.

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1 Comment »

  1. me claps/

    Comment by SGA, Inc. — 2010.October.5 @ 07:23 | Reply


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