When planning for the future, the only thing you know for certain is that the future is uncertain. Tools that help organizations to focus on priorities in a future full of risks and possibilities can be highly valuable when shaping an organization’s future. At Nexight, we provide strategic analysis and roadmapping services that can help navigate such planning challenges, but these processes can often take more time and resources than an organization has available.
That’s why we also offer SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis—a tool that can help jumpstart strategic planning in as little as a single day. By helping stakeholders identify and weigh their strengths, opportunities they may capture, their weaknesses, and both internal and external threats, SWOT analyses increase the likelihood that an organization will build a plan that achieves its goals.
Value of SWOT
While working at Stanford University in the 1960s, Albert S. Humphrey originated the SWOT analysis as a way to frame strategic planning. Since that time, SWOT analysis has gained widespread acceptance as a planning tool that can be used to quickly launch an organization’s strategic planning efforts while also engaging key stakeholders in the process.
SWOT analysis is so effective because it forces an organization to carefully assess and challenge its existing vision, mission, and goals from both an internal and external perspective. This process produces a tangible plan of action designed to capture new opportunities, build on strengths, and address weaknesses and threats. I’ve seen the process work first hand while at Alcoa, helping to shape our strategy in Europe and North America for Alcoa’s global ingot technology network.
Nexight SWOT Analysis Process
At Nexight, we have established a seven-step process for conducting SWOT analyses that can be tailored to individual client needs. For each engagement, a highly experienced, neutral facilitator leads the following process, working closely with a stakeholder group created by our clients:
- Review and refine existing organization vision, mission, and goals
- Brainstorm strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (this step can be accomplished during a facilitated session, or comments can be collected anonymously to maintain confidentiality)
- Vote and rank views to assess relative priority
- Brainstorm potential actions to address high-priority needs
- Combine similar actions and vote on priorities
- Discuss and agree on high-priority actions
- Produce a SWOT analysis action plan with next steps for addressing high-priority items
Through the use of this tried-and-true tool, our clients are able to quickly agree on actions, drive change, and ultimately strengthen their organizations. To learn more about how Nexight’s SWOT analysis services could benefit your organization, please contact Ross Brindle or Greg Hildeman.