9 Sep 2019, 10:00 — 5 min read
Background: While SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis is a framework used to analyse a firm’s competitive positioning. Ramakrishnan Venkateshwaran opines that SWEAT (Strategies, Work ethics, Efficiency, Alternatives, Tact) analysis is in fact a better means for evaluating the existing health and profitability of a business.
Management by Objectives (MBO), made popular by management guru Peter Drucker, had rightly predicted many an event through his series of theories based on real time analysis. MBO, as we all know, is the need to manage businesses by balancing different requirements and short-term goals, rather than subordinating an institution to a single viewpoint. Most of the plans are centred on the four areas of SWOT—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Analysis—with alignments and re-alignments done accordingly.
The SWOT analysis, which we know is top-down, is typically done while building businesses. They have very little to do with the present and always have the future in mind. Although many would argue that at least two of the areas i.e. Strengths and Weaknesses are attributes that are present, I would still categorise them as tools that are analysed by keeping the future prospects or perceived threats in mind. Often, organisations fail to measure efforts and evaluate the approach taken.
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One actually has to also make a “SWEAT” analysis to enable the basic exercise of running a profitable organisation. By SWEAT, I mean “Strategies” “Work ethics” “Efficiency” “Alternatives” and “Tact”. The SWEAT analysis should be done for every component of the business that leads to an immense sense of understanding about an organisation’s condition in a broader sense than either the SWOT or Portfolio analysis. This is to understand whether the resources—Human Capital, Financial, Branding and Marketing, are all moving in the desired direction towards the organisation’s vision. Let us look at each of them in detail.
End the boardroom, white board, back of the envelope methods. Every member of the organisation is part of the strategy. Strategic thought must be an ongoing process and should be imbibed across both the executive and management levels. Unless every resource is allowed to understand and participate in the macro strategies of the organisation, it does not matter what we bring in the form of strategy. The flow will help one analyse the impact of a particular strategy that can be changed or built upon for the future.
Constant feedback on work ethics is crucial for any workplace. Culture and ethics go hand in hand and these two cogs of the wheel significantly nurture an organisation’s brand image. Any deviation from organisational ethics needs to be plugged right at the beginning and leaders need to be alert at every stage.
One of the more effective methods to attain efficiency in performance is to conduct frequent business audits that are not necessarily restricted to compliance audits. Audits should be conducted across the entire business environment with proactive participation of control departments. Employee efforts can be measured quantitatively in terms of what improvements they have brought about in the efficiency of operations as well as measuring how profitability also improved.
SWEAT analysis helps in identifying alternative routes when there is a deviation from the organisation’s vision. Constant analysis helps in identifying the pain points and thus suggest appropriate replacements quickly. When businesses behave in an opportunistic manner, then they end up with unrelated diversifications. SWEAT analysis will help one to understand such deviations and suggest appropriate remedies at the right time.
Many confuse Strategy and Tact. Strategy is long term, while Tact helps in manoeuvring when the strategy wheel is veering without control. SWEAT analysis helps to figure out what kind of tactics need to be used and when. Increasingly, the business environment is extremely unstable and volatile and unless one is tactically sound, it is pretty difficult to ensure that the strategy used towards accomplishment of the goal is the most appropriate one.
Hence, let’s simply SWEAT it out!
Also read: How SMEs can succeed in a digital world
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Posted byRamakrishnan Venkateswaran
Business, Strategy and Management Consulting focused on Financial Management, Internal Controls and Risk Management services. Key services include Fund raising, Transaction...
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