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 email@example.com 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
Another way to look at developing yourself, and growing is Multiple Intelligences. Each one of us has multiple strengths: