SWOT Analysis of Human Behavior

SWOT analysis is an analytical tool to study our strengths and weaknesses so that we may exploit the emerging opportunities while at the same time avoid or minimize the threats that we may encounter.

Surprisingly, very little we apply SWOT analysis in many other areas such as storytelling and understanding of human behavior. This post is an attempt to fill this void with real-life examples.

One source of a threat that is not always easy-to-see is the weakness embedded in our strengths. I give examples to explain what I mean.

Humans including leaders and managers have their strengths and weaknesses. The strength of a person could be her/his weakness. For example, a very tolerant leader may make followers neglectful for they know that no matter what mistakes they make the leader shall tolerate them.

Same with leaders who take the initiative at all times. These leaders lead followers to become neglectful and dependent on the leader to take the initiative. The strength of the leader injected the weaknesses of the followers, which is in fact a weakness to the leader for weakening the team.

A watchful leader realizes that going beyond the limit is in fact a weakness no matter how strong she/he thinks she/he is.

A company that focuses on improving its saleable product might neglect warning signs that a new technology is emerging that could make its product obsolete.

Humans are indifferent. Their strength could be the source for their risks. This realization saves humans lots of trouble in life and may seek proper assistance to save help them cover up for their weaknesses.

SWOT Analysis in Storytelling

We know the importance of storytelling in our lives. SWOT analysis may help us write great stories.

One good example is the old Arabic story of a blind man who became friendly with a one-legged man. One day the two friends were on their way to an invitation for a wedding dinner. They walked together with the one-legged man leading the way for the blind. Suddenly, they ran into a river where the wedding dinner was on the other side of the river. The blind man could not see and the one-legged man could not walk. Therefore, what they did was the blind man could swim and carried the one-legged man on his back. The one-legged man helped the blind man avoid rocks and fallen objects in the river. Marrying the strength and weaknesses is a way to write a great story.

The above story is similar to the more modern story of the hare and tortoise with the tortoise carrying the rabbit to cross a river for the rabbit could not swim.

A third story is the one that became an Egyptian movie titled “Nothing Is Important”. A new CEO arrives for a company. The CEO was excessively controlling. One employee realized the CEO’s weakness resulting from his excessive tendency to control. It is like holding sand in your hand. Hold the sand firmly and it will slip away between your fingers. Hold the sand slowly and it shall remain in your hand.

One opportunist employee knew that something was slipping from the CEO. He searched for more info about the CEO and found out that he was excessively fond of a particular soccer team. The employee found his opportunity.

Excessive love no matter what generates weaknesses. The employee found his opportunity in utilizing the weakness of the CEO. He joined the club because he knew the CEO used to spend much of his free time exercising and socializing at the club’s premises. The employee surprised the CEO one day by jogging in the club while the CEO was doing the same. They shook hands and then had dinner together. The CEO trusted the employee again excessively so that the employee influenced the CEO to do as the employee advised him to do. Informally, the employee ran the business.

Understanding human behavior by conducting a SWOT analysis is a great way to write great stories. There are many other potential areas for SWOT analysis. We may discover them if we ponder on their possibilities.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. I agree.
    The use of this type of analysis is not limited to organizations, but can be applied in any decision-making process in which final goals to be achieved, a project, an idea or any other situation in which an individual or a organization find themselves having to make a decision to achieve a certain goal.

    • concur completely with your conclusive and comprehensive comment, Aldo. I also may add this analysis may uncover the hidden traits or attributes that may help in decision-making.

  2. Very interesting and so true and inspiring to go within to see where my flaws are my talent and my talent are a ‘weakness’
    Diving deeper into this could help us on so many levels; business, relationships, health. All areas of life really. For example: My body easily is without energy. One could say that is a ‘weakness’. However it has made it a talent of mine, to become very selective in my choices and choose them wisely. If I see no use of something, I will not do it, as it will cost me too much energy. Energy I rather use for something that will help me reach my goals. I can come up with quit some more examples. You inspired me to maybe write it down in an article dear Ali. Thank you! 😉

    • Oh dear friend Myra- this is a very mature thinking and you really not only captured the theme of the post, but also enriched it.

      You wrote “One could say that is a ‘weakness’. However it has made it a talent of mine, to become very selective in my choices and choose them wisely”. This s exactly what I wanted to convey in this post in very clear terms. I do urge you to share your thinking in a post. Please tag me if you do and I hope you shall.

  3. The SWOT has never gone out of vogue. But you are so correct that when it comes to us as individuals, we may not have a very good grasp on which of our characteristics belong in the S pile and which are Ws. Because it all depends on context.

    The decisive and successful CEO may be at a loss with the family because they don’t want to be told what do to or how to solve their problems. They just want the CEO to listen and be there with them while they figure out the solutions for themselves.
    The super intelligent analyst has a hard time relating to people with a lower IQ because they don’t grasp difficult concepts fast enough and the analyst becomes impatient.

    Conversely, so many have realized that when they had the courage to take something out of the W pile – things they were ashamed of – and shared it with somebody else, this “perceived weakness” became the very foundation for beautiful relationships.

    How many opportunities for collaboration have stranded because some of the parties were afraid of losing control?

    How many threats have not been avoided because the super strong left people afraid of telling?

    • You are so correct Charlotte and your analysis is deep.

      Humans think it is the bonding or collaboration of the strong that is fruitful. In fact, this could yield a reverse effect as each party is full of self-pride.

      Nor in the symbiotic relationship of a strong trait of a party with the weak trait of another party. In nature, trees collaborate with other trees. However, it is the symbiotic relationship between trees and fungi that has biggest collaboration internet in the world.

      You highlighted this point so well in your comment “Conversely, so many have realized that when they had the courage to take something out of the W pile – things they were ashamed of – and shared it with somebody else, this “perceived weakness” became the very foundation for beautiful relationships”.

      Who is on earth has no weakness? The false self-pride may drive us to think that we don’t. If so, we need to remember that a mosquito may bleed the eye of a lion.