Evaluate your team’s likelihood of success relative to an objective by examining strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, dangers, and conditions that may affect your future.
👥 5 – 20 person | ⏰ between 1 and 2 hours
In business, it can be easier to have certainty around what you want, but more difficult to understand what’s impeding you from getting it. The SWOT Analysis is a long-standing technique of looking at what’s working well for the business and what could be improved upon, with respect to a desired end state.
This exercise provides the group with the opportunity to gauge approaching opportunities and dangers, and assess the seriousness of the conditions that affect the future. By understanding those conditions, the group can influence what comes next.
- Before the meeting, write “Desired End State” and draw a picture of what it might look like on a piece of flip-chart paper.
- Create a 4-square quadrant using 4 sheets of flip-chart paper. Create more quadrants if you think the complexity of the discussion and the number of players warrant it.
- Top left quadrant: Write the word “STRENGTHS” and draw a picture depicting that concept. Players should take 5–10 minutes to quietly generate ideas about strengths with respect to the desired end state and write one idea per sticky note.
- Bottom left quadrant: Write “WEAKNESSES” and draw a picture depicting it. Take 5–10 minutes to write ideas about weaknesses.
- Top right quadrant: Write “OPPORTUNITIES” and draw a picture. Take 5–10 minutes to write ideas about opportunities.
- Bottom right quadrant: Write “THREATS” and draw a picture. Take 5–10 minutes to write ideas about perceived threats.
- Post everyone’s sticky notes near the corresponding quadrants.
- Starting with STRENGTHS, sort the ideas based on their affinity to each other and cluster them together until you have clustered the majority of them. Place outliers separate from the clusters but still in playing range. Repeat this for the other categories in this order: WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, and THREATS.
- After the clustering is complete, have the group create a broad category for each smaller cluster. Write the categories in the quadrants as the group agrees on them.
- Have the players dot vote on 2-3 categories in each square for the items they believe are most relevant. Highlight the ones with the most votes.
- As a group, discuss implications around the desired end state. Evaluate weaknesses and threats positively, like their presence is doing a favor. Ask questions, like “What if our competition didn’t exist?” and “How can this threat make the organization stronger?”