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SWOT and PEST analysis

Two very useful career-planning techniques are the SWOT analysis and the PEST analysis. These tools comes in very handy, when it comes to problem solving and decision-making in your career.

One kind of such context analysis, called SWOT analysis, allows the business to gain an insight into their strengths and weaknesses and also the opportunities and threats posed by the market within which they operate. The main goal of a context analysis, SWOT or otherwise, is to analyze the environment in order to develop a strategic plan of action for the business.

As SWOT Analysis is an essential tool in Strategic Planning, it takes into consideration of the four SWOT factors - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. These are the four basic parts to this analysis in internal and external environments. It examines strengths and weaknesses in the internal environment, and opportunities and threats in the external environment. This management tool allows one to set a course in career planning. SWOT is a decision-making aid that provides a framework for formulating and developing strategies.

On the other hand PEST is a short form for "Political, Economic, Social, and Technological". PEST Analysis describes a framework of macro-environmental factors used in the environmental scanning component of strategic management. PEST Analysis is used to derive Opportunities and Threats and fit them into the SWOT Analysis template. As the list of Opportunities and Threats derived by PEST is quite systematic, it may end up quite many of them, therefore a proper selection tools is needed to select them. Get better understanding of What is SWOT Analysis here.

Both SWOT and PESTEL analysis are used to evaluate the environment a company operates in. Both types of analyses are also ideally performed using group brainstorming. One significant similarity is that both SWOT and PESTEL analyses have become recognized business standards, and, thus, components of any good business plan.

While both analysis frameworks focus on the environment in which a company operates, PESTEL analysis looks at all the external environmental that may have an impact on the company. These factors may include changes in government, popular opinion, fashion trends, weather and budding technology. In contrast, SWOT analysis is concerned with identifying those environmental factors that affect the company most directly, such as increased taxes and tariffs or a new competitor.

While some similarities exist between SWOT and PESTEL, it is best practice to combine these two types of analyses. By looking at environmental factors affecting a company using two different frameworks, those factors that truly have a correlation to company performance are more easily identified. Another significant consideration regarding SWOT and PESTEL is the use of group brainstorming in identifying environmental factors. This is such an issue because, an issue that is obvious to one person, or one department, may not be obvious to another. It is for this reason that group participation is of particular value in this type of analysis.

Good decision-making requires a mixture of skills: creative development and identification of options, clarity of judgement, firmness of decision, and effective implementation. For group problem-solving and decision-making, or when a consensus is required, workshops help, within which you can incorporate these tools and process as appropriate.

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