Learn how to conduct a
personal SWOT Analysis.
Chance favors the prepared mind. – Louis Pasteur
You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.
So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this.
What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward.
If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, first print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the following questions.
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can.
And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on Your Reflected Best Self™ .
Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do co-workers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.
As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his.
By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.
Click on the thumbnail image below to see how to do a personal SWOT, represented in an infographic:
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
If you're using SWOT Analysis to think about your own life and career, then click here to look at our Life Plan Workbook. This helps you think through the things that are important to you, and set the compelling personal goals that motivate you towards success.
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