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No matter where your organization sits on the scale of success, one thing you can’t ever do is get complacent. When you’re kicking back at the top of your game, it can be easy to relax and think, “we’ve got this covered.” 

That’s when the bad things happen.

The time to stop evaluating your position and planning for continued success is never. Luckily, you’ve got two tools on your side to help keep you on top: The SWOT analysis and draw.io for Confluence.

SWOT’s happening?

So, what is SWOT? It doesn’t involve teams of heavily armed law enforcement or the localized control of unwelcome insects. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and it’s a technique for assessing these four aspects of your business to keep you prepared, on top of your game, and ahead of the competition.

SWOT Analysis helps you craft a strategy to rise above the crowd by distinguishing yourself from your competitors. It lets you understand what you’re lacking, and helps eliminate hazards that would otherwise sneak up from behind you and pick your corporate pocket like a street urchin in a Dickens novel.

The Matrix

The first thing you need for your SWOT analysis is a visual matrix (more on that later):

Why a visual matrix? Well, if you’re a regular visitor to the draw.io Blog World, you know about the advantages of visualization when it comes to disseminating, learning, and retaining information. 

Visual communication can deliver information more directly. It’s more flexible than verbal communication. It’s more attention-grabbing and engaging.

In short, don’t just write it. Don’t just say it. Show it.

Download Template
  1. Open Confluence
  2. Open draw.io (blank diagram)
  3. Drag & drop your XML file into your blank drawing area
  4. Have fun!

Strengths

Strengths are things you do well. The things that distinguish you from your competitors. These things might be the talent, experience, or motivation of your staff, access to superior materials, or a strong set of manufacturing processes. Is it a good thing? Does it make you better or more competitive than the corporation across the street? Then it’s a strength. Write it down.

Oh, and if the other guys all have the same strength, then it’s not a strength. It’s a necessity for doing business in your market.

Weaknesses

“Strengths” was the fun part. It’d be great if all we had to do is bask in our strengths, but it’s also vital to look in the other direction and identify what it is that we don’t do as well as the competition. Take a deep breath, open your eyes, and face the truth. 

Our failures and weaknesses can be our greatest teachers and a springboard for greater success in the future.

Opportunities

Opportunities are openings for something positive to happen. They might be developments in your market, or advances in the technology you use. You need to be able not only to spot them but to exploit them. They don’t need to be earth-shaking: even small advantages can increase your organization’s competitiveness. 

Threats

Threats are anything that can negatively affect your business from the outside. Shifting market requirements, supply chain problems, or a shortage of recruits are all important threats to identify. Anticipate threats. Take action against them. That’s the only way to avoid being a victim of them.

As Churchill said:

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

Threats and opportunities can often be one and the same.

draw.io in Confluence

Remember what we said earlier about the power of visualization? When you’re ready to create your SWOT, draw.io is a powerful tool that lets you create powerful infographics to make the results of all your brainstorming crystal clear. 

draw.io also allows your team to work together on the same document, and for companies using Confluence as their knowledge management system and single source of truth, you’ll do your strategic planning in Confluence. And draw.io is fully integrated. It’s the ideal tool for facilitating this visualization process. 

draw.io in Confluence is there to support you whenever your strategic brainstorming needs to be visualized. We offer readymade templates (just like the SWOT diagram above) that you can download as a XML-file and embed in your draw.io template manager (For more information on using draw.io templates for all of your visualization needs, check out this video on how to create templates). Or you can use our infographic library to easily create your own custom infographics.

The point is this: When it comes to the variety of strategic insights that can affect your business, it’s better to know than to guess. And draw.io is there to help you communicate them to everyone who needs to know.