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What is SWOT?

SWOT Analysis is a popular method for strategic planning. Using the SWOT grid, a leader, team, or organization can frame 4 realities: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. In general, these categories are what you would expect. Strengths are the actions and values that have brought success in the past, weaknesses the pain points of the current reality, opportunities the most strategic areas for innovation and growth, threats the obstacles to maintaining current strengths and going after opportunities.

Where does Polarity Thinking™ Come in?

SWOT Analysis on a Polarity Map® - Click to Enlarge

What Polarity Thinking™ and the Polarity Map® do that other frameworks don't is address the interdependence of the items. To see how that plays out in leadership assessment, watch our brief video here. What SWOT does address is the need to hold on to existing values (strengths) in the midst of change (going after opportunities). Where the Polarity Map® adds value is in framing how to do both over time to create a virtuous cycle between Stability and Change, Tradition and Innovation.

If we put the SWOT categories on a Polarity Map®, it could look much like this figure to the left. We can focus on the goals or outcomes we need to go after, as well as the potential downfalls we need to be aware of. Then, we can create the Action Steps that will allow us to achieve these goals as well as the Early Warnings to let us know if we are over-focusing on either. Using this completed map and the Polarity Approach to Continuity and Transformation (PACT™), we can maximize our experience of both Strengths and Opportunities while minimizing our experience of Weaknesses and Threats.