Quality Improvement at MDH

SWOT Analysis

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What is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis provides programs and organizations with a clear, easy-to-read map of internal and external factors that may help or harm a project, by listing and organizing a project's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. SWOT can clearly show a program its chances for success, given present environmental factors.

How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis

Create a chart with columns titled "Helpful" and "Harmful," and rows titled "Internal" and "External."

SWOT Example

Sort out factors that impact your organization, and place them in the appropriate rows/columns:

  HELPFUL
(Positive Impact)
HARMFUL
(Negative Impact)
Internal

Strengths may include:

  • Characteristics of the organization that will help it achieve successful outcome or reach goals
  • Resources, capabilities that will contribute to success

Weaknesses may include:

  • Characteristics of the organization that might hinder successful outcome / reaching goals
  • Absences of strengths
  • "Flip sides" of strengths
  • Things to avoid when executing program
  • Factors contributing to past failures
  • What other organizations might do better than yours
  • "Achilles Heels"
External

Opportunities may include:

  • Environmental factors that might influence/contribute to successful outcome
  • Unfulfilled / open niches not served by other programs (unmet customer need)
  • Upcoming changes to status quo (regulatory, political, social, etc.)
  • Chances made possible by unique strengths / eliminating weaknesses (?)
  • Factors: Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological

Threats may include:

  • Environmental factors that might prevent successful outcome
  • Upcoming changes to status quo (regulatory, political, social, etc.)
  • Factors: Political, Economic, Socio-cultural, Technological


Remember:

  • Try to look at your organization from an external perspective, even when assessing internal factors: What would others say about your organization?
  • Try to verify/quantify statements when possible, rather than making general statements about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
  • You may end up with what seems like too many factors to consider, at which point it might be helpful to start prioritizing them
  • Consider: How can you convert weaknesses into strengths? Use strengths to overcome threats? Use strengths to maximize opportunities? Use strengths to compensate for or minimize weaknesses?
  • SWOT analyses can be performed on multiple levels of an organization: Might it be more helpful to perform one just on your program? division? a specific process?

Example SWOT Analysis

This SWOT analysis was conducted by the Meeker-McLeod-Sibley CHB in 2008, to inform development of a community leadership team within its SHIP-funded Healthy Communities Collaborative.

More Information

Examples: SWOT Analysis

Image: Community Bucket List