Leadership Toolbox: the SWOT Analysis

By | February 23, 2018

[February 23, 2018]  Yesterday I ran across some of my notebooks from combat tours in Iraq.  As an army engineer, those were laced with a military analytical framework that helped us overcome the complexity of construction in a combat zone.  Based on the more well-known SWOT analysis, we planned, developed, built, and maintained more work than engineers had since the Vietnam War.

Good leaders have a toolbox of ways to make their job easier, more efficient, and more effective.  Those who properly learn and use the SWOT analysis tool are able to do this.  Of course, any such analytical tool (and there are many), is designed and tested to create a fuller awareness of all variables and factors involved in decision making.  SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

“It is impossible to accurately map out a small business’s future without first evaluating it from all angles which includes an exhaustive look at all internal and external resources and threats” – Bonnie Taylor, chief marketing strategist at CSS Innovations

Improving upon a leader’s ability to make good decisions – especially complex decisions – is at the center of what any effective leader wants.  The SWOT analysis improves operations, focuses initiative, drives mission-related tasks, helps prioritize, and brings complexity down to something people can better understand.

My purpose in this blog post is not to describe the SWOT analysis.  It can be found in a number of books, articles, and seen at leadership forums.  One thing that I will highlight involves “threats.”  Threats, or “risks” as I prefer to call them, are often shortchanged in most analyses but a good leader is always on the lookout for them.  No leader wants a threat that blindsides them; never knew it was coming.

The SWOT analysis is a forcing mechanism that makes leaders look at what they have to work with and the environment/conditions under the organization’s mission.

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[Note:]  I have a small mini-series on Leadership Toolboxes here at theLeaderMaker.com.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

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