Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SWOT Analysis

What's a SWOT Analysis? The first time I heard this phrase, I thought people were talking about the SWAT team (although the context didn't seem to fit). Say SWAT and SWOT. Sounds the same, right?
A SWAT (special weapons and tactics)team is an elite paramilitary tactical unit in American law enforcement departments. They are trained to perform high-risk operations that fall outside of the abilities of regular officers. Their duties include performing hostage rescues and counter-terrorism operations, serving high risk arrest and search warrants, subduing barricaded suspects, and engaging heavily-armed criminals.
You've probably seen SWAT teams on TV and in the movies.

Well, a SWOT analysis is a business term and here's what it means (from Wikipedia):
SWOT analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective. The technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies.

A SWOT analysis must first start with defining a desired end state or objective. A SWOT analysis may be incorporated into the strategic planning model. Strategic Planning, has been the subject of much research.

* Strengths: attributes of the person or company that are helpful to achieving the objective(s).
* Weaknesses: attributes of the person or company that are harmful to achieving the objective(s).
* Opportunities: external conditions that are helpful to achieving the objective(s).
* Threats: external conditions which could do damage to the objective(s).
You may not learn about SWOT analysis during medical school, but you're sure to learn about it in business school (or in the business world). This is my Business 101 tip for the day.

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