In the previous post we have discussed an analysis, have done the selection step and have evaluated the selected features. Today it is time to focus on the last step of the process which is:
Let’s take another look at the whole process.
In the previous step our main goal was to assign a value to the most important and valuable features. Now we can figure out how particular features have an affect on each other.
Why should one check the relationship between SWOT features?
This knowledge is important to verify and dispel doubts, which may have arisen:
- Do strengths help in making use of opportunities, or maybe I should develop other strengths to achieve my goals?
- Do strengths minimize the possibility of the threat becoming reality, or should I look for other actions to reduce the risk of threats materializing?
- Do weaknesses limit the possibility of pursuing opportunities, and do they need to be eliminated before leaping at the chance?
- Do weaknesses increase the risk of failure, and should I strengthen my position before taking further actions, or is it possible that my weaknesses don’t influence my possibilities?
Let’s take a look at the some practical examples of cases mentioned above:
New business idea evaluations
Let’s assume you have got a new idea for starting your own business. You probably thought long and hard about the pros and cons and wrote them down, chose the important features and evaluated them.
Now you need to check and see if your strength, for example: small company can change and adapt quickly will strengthen any of your opportunities? Let’s take a look at the screen below.
As we can see, one of the assets of the new company is its size and ability to adapt quickly. In this step we have decided that this strength may influence both: possibilities to gain customers and the impact on a decision process and realization of your own ideas. This sounds like a reasonable choice: a small and flexible company can change customer channels quicker, and attract customers from social networks and so on. Likewise owning you own company is naturally connected to greater impact on the decision making process and the possibility of pivots. On the other hand, the flexibility and size of the organization influences neither time-to-profit nor the existence of a customer niche.
This why we create relationships between internal and external features. Knowing these relationships is itself a great asset for the newly created company, but this knowledge can be developed even further when we connect relationships with feature priorities.
Personal development - seeking a job offer
The creation of relationships is also useful in personal development. The example shown below was created by a user (let’s call her Anna), who wants to change her job from a local small company to a big international corporation. Anna analyzed her current situation and noted all of the weaknesses related to it, then selected and evaluated features. Now it is time for checking relationship between these features.
We can see that one of the weaknesses is that Anna feels that tasks with time pressure make her feel stressed. Unhappily this limits the use of potential opportunities which may come with new job. Meeting new people is a great opportunity but may be difficult to utilize in the stressful environment. The same can be applied to use of a new language in practice - after all, highly stressed people are likely to fail on extending their language skills. On the other hand, from her perspective this won’t affect her salary and job market position.
As we can see, the key is to find balance between these interactions. What Anna should think of is: whether she would feel comfortable with higher paid but more stressful job or should she seek job which has other attributes. The decision is of course hard, but SWOT can serve as a great support here.
Selections, priorities and interactions put all together
The important attribute of SWOT analysis is that it can be successfully employed to deal with dilemmas like the one described below. Should I start this new company? Should I change the job? On which strength or weakness should I focus first to acquire my goal?
When we analyze features we answer the question: what are the attributes of given situation, selections lets us decide which of them is important. While evaluating we answer the question: how important is this over that and finally, relations give us feedback on: how this interacts with that?
Sadly, doing each of this activities in isolation won’t give us the expected results, because they are somehow disconnected. Only when we put them all together, we can see which factors have the greatest influence globally - which means in context of all data we have gathered.
This insights help us in creating the proper strategy and identify the areas on which we should focus. The method of creating this insights and making use of them will be the topic of our next post, so stay tuned! Meanwhile if you would like to see how to create relationships and check out what results they can produce, please visit our website cayenneapps.com and use our SWOT Application!
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