What can you do today that will build your authenticity? The first thing is to face the truth so you can act quickly on it. The SWOT analysis is a great place to start — it helps you get honest and focused on your main strength by pitting you against your threats and competition. Here’s how to do a solid SWOT analysis quickly with your staff.
The SWOT Analysis
The SWOT is an incredibly effective way to analyze your business within the context of your competitive environment. If you do it correctly, you will find a competitive strength for your business, identify a few weaknesses to shore up, discover opportunities that you can translate into goals and you will understand your competition a little better. The best part is that all you need is your team and some sticky notes. Let’s take a look at each step.
Step 1: List Strengths and Weaknesses
Gather your team in a room and take a minute to write down all your strengths. List each strength on its own sticky note.
Now write down your weaknesses. Remember that your strengths and weaknesses are things that are internal to the organization. Think in terms of your competency to create and deliver the service or product.
Next, let’s think outside the organization.
Step 2: List Opportunities and Threats
List opportunities that you think are available to you, given your lists of strengths and weaknesses. Make sure to write one opportunity per sticky note.
Now list the threats that you think would limit your ability to do business in this market and jeopardize the opportunities that you think you could serve.
Each one of these should take about a minute to write down.
Step 3: Analyze Strengths
Then take a few minutes to assess your notes and group some strengths that are linked to each other. For example, if someone listed “quality” as a strength on one sticky note and someone else listed “fast service” on another, then you might put fast underneath quality as a sub-sticky. This puts your strengths in context and forces a better definition of each one. Quality by itself is not a good strength because it doesn’t tell you what makes your product or service great. You gain much more insight when you can talk in detail about exactly what you do and how you do it. Define what it is about you that creates such value for people on the outside.
Step 4: Analyze Threats
Now let’s look at threats and take another stab at what we mean and in what way these things are threats. Think of replacement goods or services, not just your competition. Think of other things potential clients might do with their money rather than hire you. What other good or service would be as high of a priority as yours to your client? What are the competition and threats?
Step 5: Analyze Weaknesses
Divide your weaknesses into two sets. Things that you need to fix and things that don’t really matter. Then take those things that don’t really matter and explicitly say that you’re not going to get good at them. Take the things that you do need to improve and figure out if those are things you’re going to do internally or something that you should outsource.
Now go through your notes and see if there’s anything that looks similar between strengths and threats. If they are the same, you need to figure out whether the other guy does it better than you do. If a threat does it better than you do, you need to think about whether that’s really a strength of yours or not.
The key here is to be cooly rational about your strengths and the truth about yourself.
The Final Step
The last step is to go through and prioritize your strengths. You need to identify your three strongest traits. That way, you can focus on what makes you excellent.
Actions for Today
This is how you approach a SWOT analysis. It’s a key exercise to use when you are figuring out the truth about yourself. You can also use it anytime you’re working on something that requires you to know yourself and know your enemy or audience.
So what can you do today?
- Get in the calendar to reserve a room, set a time where everyone is fully awake.
- Buy sticky notes, enough for at least 60-100 stickies and then make sure you have a big whiteboard and space-enough for everyone.
- Ask someone to order refreshments.
- Make sure that everybody leaves their phones outside or has their phones turned off.
The goal is to discover your top three strengths in contrast to your competition and to acknowledge weaknesses. Once you know these things, you can stop spinning your wheels trying to be someone/something you’re not. You can become more competitive by turning weaknesses into strengths. During that process you may also discover opportunities right at your fingertips. And if you’re interested in having someone facilitate that meeting in the service of building a brand, consider one of our workshops. We’d love to be an objective guide along the way.
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