Management Skills: How to use SWOT Questions

SWOTIn my blog ‘Are You Asking Your Employees Enough Questions?’ I talk about how using questions in order to demonstrate to your employees how much you value them and their opinion. In this blog I’m looking at using questions for a more practical reason – to evaluate processes and drive improvement using, as a framework, SWOT

QUESTIONS FOR EVALUATING PROCESSES

I’ve recently been working with a group of managers who are finding it difficult to encourage their employees to evaluate their working processes in order to generate ideas for improvement (asking the question ‘what improvements can you think of’ was getting them nowhere fast!)
My view is that it’s useful for employees to have a more structured approach for evaluating processes and that the SWOT analysis model can help with that. Here is the outcome of the work I did with those managers (using the example of the evaluation of a new system) and the ‘SWOT‘ questions we devised:

SWOT 1 – Strengths

What do you think works well with the system?
What have been the benefits of using the system?
What does this system give the customers?
How does it help you; reduce waste, increase efficiency, improve quality of service?
How has the system improved the way you work?

SWOT 2 – Weaknesses

Is there anything that doesn’t work well?
Are there any weaknesses in the system?
Have you encountered any problems or impediments?
Is there anything you don’t think adds value?
Are customers saying there’s a problem?

SWOT 3 – Opportunities

What needs to be improved?
How could we do that?
What are we missing that could work well?
How can we overcome the weaknesses?

SWOT 4 – Threats

Is there anything outside the team / unit that are having a negative impact on the effectiveness of the system – that’s threatening its effectiveness?
In what ways could we mitigate that threat?

SUMMARY – SWOT QUESTIONS

Asking questions is always a great technique for building employee engagement. Asking ‘SWOT questions’ not only demonstrates to our employees that their opinion matters but also gives us the opportunity to identify improvements to working practices, processes etc – improvements that, often, only our employees can identify

 

3 Responses to Management Skills: How to use SWOT Questions

  1. […] and careful use of questions (questions that we also listen to the answer to!). In my blog ‘Management Skills: How to use SWOT Questions’ I give examples of a whole range of questions you can use to encourage your employees to […]

  2. Great list of SWOT questions, Joan. I also find two more questions that are helpful that come into play immediately following the SWOT analysis discussion. 1) Review the responses to Strengths and Opportunities and ask: What are the benefits we can accrue if we leverage these Strengths & Opportunities? 2) Then review the responses to Weaknesses and Threats and ask: What is the potential damage that can occur if we don’t address these Weaknesses & Threats? Combining the responses in this way gives employees an extra boost to make their SWOT analysis actionable.

  3. joanhenshaw says:

    Hi Sybil
    Thanks – and thanks for your excellent contribution. I can really see how your ‘benefits’ and ‘damage’ questions would boost the SWOT analysis. Great!

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