A useful tool for supporting strategic thinking is SWOT analysis. This involves assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to an organization or an organization.

Strengths in your department or organization are internal factors such as resources, abilities, and assets that improve the chances of success. To identify strengths, you can ask yourself a question like, “How does my department or organization meet and exceed the needs of different stakeholders?” The answer will give you insight into what the existing strengths are.

Weaknesses are internal factors such as resources, abilities, or assets that a department or organization is missing, or that aren’t being used effectively. They make it harder to achieve objectives and meet the needs of important stakeholders.

Opportunities are conditions or circumstances that contribute to the success of your department and organization. They can help you meet strategic objectives and are external factors.

Threats, which are external factors, are conditions or circumstances that may put your department or organization at a disadvantage and make it more difficult to achieve strategic objectives.

A SWOT analysis is valuable for strategic thinking because it prompts you to evaluate internal and external competitive environments. It should prompt you to ask various questions about these environments such as, “What value do our competitors offer that we don’t?” or “How are we meeting changes in trends?”

A SWOT analysis guides strategic thinking by prompting you to adopt a big picture view of your organization and industry, as well as a clear view of where you are in relation to these.

It’s valuable for strategic thinking because it also encourages active discussion among individuals to gather information. By encouraging open conversation about strategically significant decisions, key individuals in an organization are prompted to develop new, creative ways of thinking and developing solutions. This helps individuals, departments, and organizations move away from overly restrictive thinking.

Note, however, that the results of a SWOT analysis depend on the reliability of the information you analyze. You’ll also need to practice taking the insights you’ve gained and putting them together to form a bigger picture.

Also, remember that the real value of a SWOT analysis isn’t in providing absolutely accurate data. Instead, it directs you to focus and guide your strategic thinking.