It’s time for a SWOT analysis. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. I recommend doing them twice a year professionally and at least once a year personally. It helps you stay focused on your goals, stay current with your skills, and stay out of that comfort rut that threatens us all from time to time.
Strengths is the category I consider the most important. List all the skills and attribute that you consider a strength. If you had to rate these skills and attributes on a scale of one through ten, you would rate yourself at least a nine, even on bad days. These are the things you naturally bring to the table. Maybe your attitude is consistently positive and uplifting. Perhaps you are an Excel ninja or a travel guru. What skills and attributes do you consider a natural gift?
Then make them even better. Yes, you read that right. If you are a nine out of ten when it comes to organization, work to be a 12 out of ten. You need to be so good at this skill or attribute that your name comes up when it is mentioned.
Whatever you’ve listed as your strengths (and this list won’t be a lengthy list if you are totally honest) will be your legacy, your reputation, your brand. Everything can’t be a strength. A true strength needs to be something you maximize to stand out and add value to your organization.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”9VI0z” via=”yes” ]A true strength on a SWOT analysis needs to be something you maximize to stand out and add value to your organization.[/ctt]
Weaknesses – List all the skills and attributes that you would rate yourself four, five, or six out of ten. They aren’t going to hurt you, but you don’t excel in those areas either. They may be things that you don’t enjoy doing or things that are more effort than you often want to exert. Examples might include taking minutes, keeping your computer skills up-to-date, filing, or understanding the budget process.
For your weaknesses, you want to make sure you don’t ignore them so they become threats. You do want to invest some time and energy. If you can, bring them up to a seven or eight rating so you know that you are good enough in those areas that, with a bit of effort, they could become an opportunity for you.
Opportunities – The same list applies, and these would be the skills and attributes that you would rate seven or eight out of ten. You are good at them. You probably enjoy them. Some days, they may be procrastinated upon, but generally, you wouldn’t say it is your best strength, but it could be if you focused on them. Opportunities are areas that offer you growth, learning, and, of course, opportunity.
Your opportunities combine a look to the future and an interest. You are interested in new technologies and software and are very good at adapting quickly when introduced. This is an area where you could, if you wanted to, make a strength of this item.
I used not to enjoy taking minutes. I created them fine, but I didn’t love them. Until I started teaching Minute Taking Made Easy when I started to really enjoy taking minutes. Now that I’ve been teaching this program for over 20 years, I have gotten very good at them, I enjoy taking minutes (and finding out what is going on), and I moved this weakness up to an opportunity and then to a strength.
Threats are the second most important category. These are those skills and attributes that, if left unchecked, will get you fired or ruin your reputation. These are typically those elements you truly don’t enjoy, you procrastinate upon, or legitimately is something you cannot do.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”bG85H” via=”yes” ]Threats are the second most important category on a SWOT analysis. Do you know your threats?[/ctt]
By identifying your threats, those skills and attributes that you rate a one, two, or three out of ten, you are ensuring your avoidance of these skills and attributes don’t cause you to lose your job or damage your reputation.
Perhaps an example is that you avoid uncomfortable conversations. This could make you an easy target for someone to bully at work. Maybe you have a short temper which causes you to explode inappropriately. Both of these examples could come with extreme consequences.
When you identify your threats, you want to ensure you invest in yourself to mitigate these threats. Learn the skills required to rate them a four or five instead of a lower number. You may never enjoy doing these things, but they are necessary.
I look at my strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats at least twice per year. As I set my goals and complete my personal performance reviews, it is easy for me to plan what needs to improve, what needs education, and what needs my attention. I look forward to finding new things to learn, new things to improve on, and new things that get me excited. I want to ensure that I don’t slip in some things (which I do) and catch myself before they become a professional liability.
Warren and I also have similar conversations about our relationship. Neither of us wants to take things for granted nor get complacent with our marriage, finances, friendships, or health.
Won’t you do a SWOT on your professional and personal life too? You might just find that you learn a few things about yourself.