SWOT analysis helps us develop
Another tool that we have been using to develop ourselves, as individuals, and within organizations is SWOT analysis. There are several variations to this theme- NOISE Analysis, and so on.
However the basic method is to identify what we do well (STRENGTHS); areas we need to improve to meet our goals (WEAKNESSES); Explore possible options to add value proactively (OPPORTUNITIES) and what pitfalls we must watch out for (THREATS).
SWOT can be used as a planning technique of looking at what is working and identifying areas to improve. It gives us a format to explore opportunities that we may know about or can explore, often with inputs from our superiors, mentors, peers, clients and so on . While using NOISE (a variation of SWOT- considered a solution-focussed analysis) , we understand the NOISE conditions, and so, can create a roadmap or goal towards the future that allows us to blossom. This is true for individuals (children or adults); teams or organizations.
One precondition for using SWOT or NOISE analysis is that it should be judgement-free and free of pre-conceived notions. I did try to be as objective as possible.
I did a SWOT analysis of my blogging activities recently. There are several goals that I could derive from it. Most of it was towards networking with other leaders in Learning and Training.
For STRENGTHS, I asked myself:
- Which of my achievements am I most proud of?
- What do other people (and my mentors and mentees, in particular) see as my strengths?
- What advantages do I have that others don’t have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)?
- What do I do better than anyone else?
- What personal resources can I access?
- What values do I believe in that others may not value as highly?
- Am I part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do I have with influential people?
- In what areas do my peers outperform me, inspite of my extra efforts?
- What tasks do I usually avoid because I don’t feel confident doing them?
- What will the people around me see as my weaknesses?
- Am I completely confident in my skills, inspite of my education and training ?
- What are my negative work habits (for example, am I poor at handling stress)?
- Do I have personality traits that hold me back in my field? For instance, if persuasion and influence are required, a fear of confrontation would be a major weakness.
I am still working on the Opportunities and Threats part. I plan to use an enhanced SWOT template, which I can share with anyone interested (size is large).
I also realized that one of the weaknesses of SWOT was its limited value, if the analysis was done through self-reporting. SWOT analysis can be valuable when enhanced by multiple viewpoints. So I plan to include peers and mentors to add to my SWOT template. I am talking to some of my community in India. Any other Educational/ Training leaders that I may not have discovered yet is welcome to join me in my journey of self-awareness and improvement. May I request Walter McKinzie, Brian Paige, Brad Hock and others contribute to my template. Please test-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org when you can spare me some time. Calling from India is expensive…excuse me. Mail or Skype or Hangout may be better. Whats your preference? Thanks in advance, Prasanna