A reflection on SWOT.
Most of us have been exposed to it - in long-gone academic lectures, in mid-career brush-up courses or during occasional or recurring strategic or business planning exercises. Although it has become a trivial concept, the usefulness of SWOT analysis is seldom questioned.
'Usefulness'. This is a keyword here. For a SWOT framework to be useful, it obviously needs to be balanced. So, how balanced are SWOT analyses as a rule? Do they inflate strengths and downplay weaknesses, do they overstate opportunities and ignore threats?
Browsing the findings of our recent C-Tracker research, we had a hard time finding instances of companies admitting that their own profile had any shortcomings or that their operating environment faced any dark clouds.
What is the value of any analysis – SWOT or otherwise – that forgets the downside?