SWOT analysis

January 7, 2008

With my wife studying for her MBA, I often get asked if I am picking up an MBA by osmosis. While that’s probably exaggerating it a little bit, I do pick up some interesting bits and bobs, such as SWOT analysis. In a nutshell, it’s a business planning tool where you compile a list of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats into a 2×2 matrix, and use that to build on your strengths, work on your weaknesses, seize the opportunities in front of you and defend against the threats. Furthermore, as a career building exercise, the students were split into teams and told to write up a SWOT analysis of themselves. Each person’s analysis was then discussed within the group, with the other team members adding to the lists, as necessary.

It seemed like an interesting exercise to undertake. I worked on the list and then added more items after specific suggestions from the missus. While I won’t publish the final result here (In a commercial world where everybody does their darndest to shield their weaknesses from the world, it wouldn’t be the wisest move), I would recommend it as a useful means for introspection.

It was pleasing to note that out of the 9 weaknesses we listed, I am, in some form or the other, already working on 4 of them. What was less pleasing was that I listed less than half the items on my “strengths” list. Since I was trying to be brutally honest and making no attempt at modesty when I compiled the list (conclusion: I wasn’t aware of my perceived strengths), I haven’t been doing a good enough job of playing to my strengths.

Let’s hope that I remember to visit the lists periodically and to make constant evaluations on the different items on that list.


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