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Section 14. SWOT Analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

Developing and Using a SWOT Analysis

___Your group or organization has determined, based on its strengths and characteristics, to use a SWOT analysis to help develop strategies for change

___You have designed your retreat or meeting as well as the form of the SWOT analysis you will conduct

___You have involved a diverse group of stakeholders in creating the SWOT assessment

___You conducted the SWOT analysis meeting and generated a list of internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats

___You considered the SWOT factors from others' points of views as well as your own

___You have used your SWOT analysis as a tool to discover or confirm areas for action and improvement

___You have used your SWOT analysis to develop strategies for change

Conducting a SWOT Analysis

___ At your meeting or retreat, designate a leader or group facilitator

___ Designate a recorder if your group is large. Use newsprint on a flip chart or a large board to record the analysis and discussion points

___Introduce the SWOT method and its purpose in your organization

___Divide your stakeholders into smaller groups (of three to 10, depending on your size). Mix the small groups to get a range of perspectives, and give people a chance to introduce themselves

___Direct each group to designate a recorder, and provide each with newsprint or dry-erase board. Instruct them to create a SWOT analysis in the format you choose -a chart, columns, a matrix, or even a page for each quality

___Give the groups 20-30 minutes to brainstorm and fill out their own strengths , weakness, opportunities and threats chart for your program, initiative or effort

___Reconvene the group to share results, recording on the flip-chart or board. Collect and organize the differing groups' ideas and perceptions by asking for results from one group at a time or by opening the floor to all groups. Use one of the following orders to record results:

  • S-W-O-T order, recording strengths first, weaknesses second, etc.
  • Top priority order for each category -the strongest strength, most dangerous weakness, biggest opportunity, worst threat

___Discuss insights, repeated items, and cross connections between categories -"This strength plays into that opportunity"

___Use the results to support your purpose for the meeting:

  • Come to some consensus about most important items in each category
  • Relate the analysis to your vision, mission, and goals
  • Translate the analysis to action plans and strategies

___If appropriate, prepare a written summary of the SWOT analysis for participants to use in planning and implementing your effort