Back to resources

Putting Your SWOT Analysis to Work (4 mins)

By Shannon Sage


Putting Your SWOT Analysis to Work

Learn how to craft actionable items from a SWOT analysis. Take your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and capitalize on them!

For more resources on building your strategic plan, view the Essentials Guide to Strategic Planning.

Video Transcript

“Hi, I’m Elsa Ozuna Richards. The topic of our whiteboard session today is taking the information from your SWOT analysis, into a strategic plan. Now, I’m going to make the assumption that you’ve already developed a comprehensive plan.

What we’re going to do is start at the next step, is pairing that SWOT analysis down to another element. Let’s look at your SWOT analysis. You should have developed it in strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Remember, that your strength and weaknesses are internal to your company, and opportunities and threats are anything external to your company.

Once we’ve paired it down, we’re going to start to identify what the strategic alternatives are for you. In this step, we’re going to take elements out of one of the quadrants, pair it up with an element in another quadrant, and we’re going to identify what those strategic alternatives are.

In this case, I’m going to take great reputation, I’m going to pair it up with the need or the opportunity for developing dementia care, and I’m going to make an actionable item. In this case, we’re going to take reputation, dementia care, and we’re going to build out a new program.

Once we’ve done that, we’re going to move right into prioritizing all of those strategic alternatives that we identified. Keep it down low, don’t get too heavy handed with those. Now, we’re going to prioritize them. We’re going to in this case, prioritize dementia care program first. We need to increase our grant dollars, and we need to improve our staff retention. That’s what’s this company is going to focus on.

Once you’ve developed those strategic priorities, we’re going move right into balancing them. We’re going to balance them according to the balance scorecard perspective, in four perspectives: financial, market growth, operational excellence, and people excellence. In this case, we’re developing a new program that’s going to gain us market share, so that falls right into the market growth category. We’re going to build this one out, once we’ve identified them, we go right into the road map. Road map, is a quadrant were we can lay out in a landscape perspective what all of our long term strategic objectives are, and what our one year goals are.

In this case, our long term strategic objective is to introduce one new program. Then, our one-year goal is to develop a comprehensive dementia care program in 2013. Now, we’re not going to be satisfied until that program is 100 percent complete, so our measure is 100 percent completion. We are not going to be satisfied until we complete one comprehensive program. You can define what comprehensive means by developing a criteria, which would be another goal, but you developed a criteria. Once you’ve mapped out this road map in all four perspectives, we now have a plan.

Let’s look at it one more time. You’ve developed your SWOT analysis in strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. We’ve identified what our strategic alternatives are. We’ve made them actionable at this point. We move into prioritizing, and then once we’ve prioritized, we go right into balancing out our priorities into the four balance card perspectives. In this case we’ve selected market growth, and we go through and finish up with a road map. Once that road map is complete, you’re ready to write those goals out in a formalized plan.

Thank you so much for joining us. ”

Shannon Sage

Shannon is a Client Engagement Manager at OnStrategy with experience in marketing, social media and strategic planning. She manages the survey database, supports the integration of survey results and analysis, and she answers client’s questions and concerns.

Success isn’t a list of flashy logos. It’s about helping anyone who wants to lead a great organization. If that’s you, join our list of clients – you’re in good company:

A Dose of Strategy.

Actionable tips, case studies, best practices in your inbox every other week.