There’s a popular business analysis tool known as S.W.O.T. It provides a method for looking at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. SWOT reviews are done for business issues of all kinds like competition, market position, product design, sales, and technology. As applied to a business, you can see the merit of doing this review periodically.
However, it can be useful on a personal level as well. Managers and leaders should take time during annual reviews and goal setting to add this powerful view as well. Here’s how it can work.
Personal Review Using SWOT
A plan of action using a Personal SWOT Analysis can be developed for every aspect of development and execution because there are always three critical components in every chosen role you may serve. Whether you are a husband, wife, father, mother, community leader, volunteer, or other, you can SWOT your contribution to that effort.
Why? Because every role we serve has three key components.
Identity, Purpose, and Intention.
These three components form a process of right action. Without understanding who you are or what your business or organizational core competence is and what is the purpose you intend, you are always going to be guessing more than you have to.
In the following analysis, you are taken step by step through a proven process of creating clarity of right action. However, to do so we have to begin with a simple way of fleshing out the context within which you intend to work. It doesn’t matter what context or role you choose, each of them requires you to be clear.
In order to reach clarity we take some simple, yet critically important steps. The first steps begin with a SWOT Analysis.
You will focus on the following overriding questions:
- Do you know your personal purpose?
- What are your goals or objectives?
- What are your values?
- HOW Can YOU match your STRENGTHS to OPPORTUNITIES/Openings?
- How can you reduce the impact of your WEAKNESSES and THREATS?
- How do you differentiate yourself from your competition?
Trying to analyze one’s own strengths can be tricky. Throughout all of my coaching, I seldom see anyone who gets this exactly right the first time. Some might be modest and undervalue great strength in areas like collaboration, employee empowerment, decision making, or planning.
Others can be more boastful, seeming to know without a doubt they are great leaders who people should feel honored to serve; “my way or the highway” approach to leadership.
Entrepreneurs can be especially blinded by the emotional connection to their idea. While the great new product or service has great potential, the business will fail because the founder doesn’t know what he/she doesn’t know.
Before isolating your own estimation of your strengths, seek some 360 feedback. Get input from others you value as trusted advisors. Do an informal ask session. Then compile a list of the strengths that you can use to accomplish your goals and objectives.
Just like your strengths, identifying “weaknesses” in your personal domain can be hard. Objectivity can be lacking. You may even be suffering blindspots where your weaknesses reside. Using 360 reviews and stakeholder feedback can help inform you of areas where there is an opportunity for improvement. However, you may know exactly what areas or what issues give you the most trouble. Stating what these may be will help round out the SWOT analysis.
These are the things you can see as a new direction; changes that allow you to reach new goals. Taking a good look at the road in front of you can reveal opportunities for growth and change. Listing them while doing this personal inventory helps bring motivation and inspiration to the plan.
Making a good assessment of personal threats is also tricky. I recommend starting with your mindset. Do you hold any limiting thoughts about who you are and what you can do?
If you ever wondered about a limiting thought, they sound like this:
- I’m too small
- I’m too slow
- I’m too ugly
- I don’t have the right degree.
- You failed at this the last time.
Any statement rumbling in your head that starts with or sounds like these needs to be eliminated first. Then you can deal with identifying true threats to your personal goals.
Performing a Periodic Personal Review
Just as every successful business invests time to perform SWOT analysis from time to time, you too should perform this review with your work life, home life, and career balance.
See what the data may tell you about the direction you are heading. Use the informed analysis to redirect your path, redefine goals, and set a new course.