Self-reflection is one of the highest states a human being can reach throughout their lifetime. It may seem straightforward. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The most insightful business leaders invest heavily in digging deeper into themselves, building actionable plans that build upon their strengths while mitigating the management risks posed by their weaknesses.
Aiming for perfection isn’t realistic. This is why a personal SWOT analysis helps you to project the pros and cons on an individual level, uncovering new business opportunities and preventing disasters from happening thanks to weak links across departments and small organizations.
Discovering Your Strengths And Excelling At Work
Businesses revolve around ROI (return on investment). For every dollar out, your employer (or investors) look for an added margin (10% through 40% depending on your business model and size).
This is made possible through a complex configuration of different types of jobs in every organization. Their existence ensures that the business can amplify their strong suits and cover the weak fronts outside of the core expertise of the company.
Within an office environment, jobs fall into three main categories:
- Income Providers
A well-defined personal SWOT analysis can help you align your strengths to the business dynamics and improving the right traits that your job requires.
Operational jobs revolve around mandatory services a business needs to cover. For most businesses, this means: accounting, legal, logistics, office assistance, cleaning jobs, security.
A business doesn’t usually generate revenue from operational jobs. If this is your role in an organization, you want to pick one of these routes:
- Make sure your strengths contribute to the organization and you are an effective and valuable asset.
- Look for production or income-generating jobs in the company if your skills can be more beneficial to your management.
- Find a job where your core skill set falls into the other two categories.
Production jobs generate the revenue brought by sales, marketing, senior management.
Developers in a software company, copywriters in a marketing agency, chefs at restaurants are “production workers” in the sense of this classification.
This category can contribute to the bottom line and may endanger a business due to poor quality. Ensuring that you rank among the top 10% in your organization means you generate a higher ROI for the business, get more work done faster, and produce top quality.
Through the SWOT analysis, you can turn your weaknesses into opportunities and increase the efficiency of your day-to-day tasks.
This will reflect your annual raises and career opportunities over time, including senior management options for some peers.
Sales, business development, consulting, ambassadorship and organization advocacy, along with other executive roles act as the income providers in an organization.
These jobs come with the highest responsibilities for both soft- and hard skills. Aside from your key competency, you need extraordinary soft skills, business acumen, and admirable time management skills to close clients for the business.
Conducting a Personal SWOT Analysis
A small percentage of people can objectively assess their qualities and how the surrounding world perceives them. There’s often a disconnect between one’s self-esteem and what they project to the world around them.
One practical approach here is a Personal SWOT analysis.
First, print the following template. Make 20 copies.
Second, study the Personal SWOT analysis cheatsheet:
Third, fill out the SWOT template yourself.
Actionable Steps to Filling Out SWOT Analysis
Use the cheat sheet as an example and apply it to your personal or professional profile.
- Outline the areas where you excel. Find out what you do best. Figure out what everyone sees as your competitive benefit.
- Identify your weaknesses. Delve deep and find the activities or personal traits that you suck at, hate, or even despise. Imagine a hellish workplace, that you can’t stand, for one second. Write down the environment and the types of tasks that you would be assigned to do in a worst-case possible scenario.
- Outline how your strengths could be turned into opportunities. Amplify your strengths, apply them to a list of activities that you can perform daily and watch how you can generate outstanding results.
- Writing down how your weaknesses may impact your health, attitude, and accomplishments at work. Don’t hesitate to take it to another extreme – imagine your worst traits exposed at a public speaking or an investors’ meeting.
Fourth, quiz your friends, family, colleagues.
Share the remaining 19 copies with family members, close friends, and colleagues. Ask them to spend 10 minutes of their time and offer them a free drink or a favor if needed.
This is extremely important for your self-assessment test so it’s worth the hassle.
Collect all results, get back home and don’t look at them until the weekend or your day off.
Analyzing SWOT Results
Fifth, compare the results.
Keep in mind that there may be some overlap between your perception of yourself and how those around you, see you. But it’s very likely that some of the results will surprise you – a lot.
Also, results will normally be different depending on who you ask. Your family will focus on areas that reflect your behavior at home or your historical accomplishments over the years. Also, they may be more polite or friendly – or nag you for “being sloppy when washing the dishes” or something else.
This is still a valuable lesson that could affect other areas of your life.
Your colleagues may see you differently. The same goes for your managers (or even subordinates if you have some).
After reading everything thoroughly, look for patterns.
Consider how similar responses are and which areas are completely different.
The similar responses are either an indication of the areas that you’ve developed well, or ones that you are unaware of.
Underline your own responses. Write down the ones that are worth exploring further or working on.
Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths
At the end of the day, you’ll learn a ton about how people around you perceive and see you as a human being, a family member, a friend, a colleague. This is a more objective representation of yourself. After taking the quiz, you’ll get some reassurance or a new direction on opportunities you can tackle at work and weaknesses that you should reduce, rectify, or turn into strengths.
If you are serious about starting out as soon as possible, get this worksheet and put it into action:
Some of those may be applicable in the workplace. Talk to your managers if you feel that you would do better in other areas.
Otherwise, keep working on your personal profile until you get a promotion or find a job that fits your personal profile and let you develop yourself further.