Business strategy planning 2017: #2 SWOT analysis

November 16, 2016

Carrying out the SWOT

In Part 2 of our guide to business strategy planning ready for 2017, Leeds-based HR 180’s HR Consultant Sue Westhead looks at the SWOT analysis. With a vast wealth of knowledge of Business Strategy Planning built up over many years experience in blue chips across the globe, Sue has managed major transformation and change initiatives in leading organisations, both in the UK and globally. Sue can turn her hand to anything related to strategic, transformational change, ensuring that the detail and its application is understood and embedded. Look out for further articles on Business Strategy Planning which we will publish through November. Want help quickly? Call Sue and the HR180 team on 0113 287 8150 for immediate assistance.


Staying Grounded in reality – concentrating on what’s important

In the strategic planning world autumn and early winter are busy times. Most companies are at the top of their service cycle and looking to renew their plans – or realising they don’t want to start another year without one! Like any planning tool, a SWOT analysis is only as good as the information it contains. There are some fundamental questions to help with focus:

  • What does the company do best?
  • What are the functional capabilities?
  • What must you do long term to succeed?
  • How can you be more innovative and effective?
  • What unique resources or capabilities do you have now and what do you lack?

These are the essentials, and it is key that the process stays grounded in reality!  Strength and weaknesses you identify should be done with a market orientation and customer focus in mind (even though these are ‘internal’ questions) because:

  • Strengths are only meaningful when they assist the business in meeting customer needs
  • Weaknesses that might not seem outwardly apparent to customers often will still manifest through the experiences that they have with your company.

Finding the Clarity

Strategy implies being ready for the future, which can sound a bit daunting. Putting an actionable plan together may even seem impossible to accomplish given the unpredictability. Using a more indepth check helps make framing your strategy much less complicated and understanding your internal and external environment is a necessity for charting your strategy.  The world is indeed a complex place but investing in your strategy check will help you with your bottom line by:

  • Focusing on your strengths
  • Shoring up your weaknesses
  • Capitalising on your opportunities
  • Recognising your threats
  • Predicting ways to measure success.

It’s worth remembering with the appropriate use of tools that pyramids have been built and mountains moved.

Right people around the table – skills to do it

Many people get confused about the differences between strengths and opportunities, as well as the difference between weakness and threats – what needs to change or improve in the processes which deliver strategy. Like directions on a compass, the S and W are your internal orientation and the O and T are your outward. Having the right people around the table is critical: questions should be explored with your key staff, managers and leaders. Don’t sell your brain trust short by only relying on a couple of people to answer or explore what could be fundamental in the business! If you or your people do not know what to ask or how to analyse, ensure you have a steer  – a helping hand from someone who knows how to get you through to the main areas.

Read the series so far by using the link below:

Part 1 – No More Wash and Repeat

Strategy Check

We can be that helping hand! We will guide you through the maze of information and set you on the right path to success. HR180’s Mission Control provides HR Consultancy to protect your planet.

Hit the Rescue Me button or call us today for a no obligation chat and to find out more about our Super Services! 0113 287 8150.


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