At the end of each year I like to reflect on things I’d like to improve on in the following year. As such, I’ve decided to perform a SWOT analysis on myself to thoroughly assess where I am and where I want to go.
A SWOT is an acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. No matter the industry, all businesses and organizations regularly perform a SWOT analysis to identify areas of improvement. Performing a Self-SWOT is just as beneficial, and I’d like to encourage everyone to take a little bit of time before the end of the year to perform this exercise.
To perform a SWOT correctly you should understand how it works. The first step in performing a SWOT is to take a piece of paper and draw two intersecting lines to create four distinct, and equal quadrants. Next, label each quadrant as a strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat. Lastly, add bullet points below each category and start writing in the details. I’ve provided an example below:
To perform a SWOT analysis effectively, you should think about how each category complements or negates other categories in the diagram. This is done by understanding how your strengths allow you to take advantage of opportunities and avoid threats, and how your weaknesses prevent you from taking advantage of opportunities and make you more susceptible to threats. For example, one of your strengths may be public speaking, but one of your weaknesses is the inability to secure enough speaking opportunities. Or, one of your weaknesses may be inadequate time management, but you have the opportunity to create a set time each day for uninterrupted, focused work. Taking a thoughtful approach to this part of the exercise is a great way to identify opportunities for improvement.
I just started my SWOT analysis and one area I’d like to improve in is understanding better how institutional money managers make investment decisions. The world of finance and institutional money management has become increasingly layered, making it harder to reach key decision-makers in an organization. One of the ways I’m improving my understanding of this process is scheduling calls with investment consultants and chief investment officers to get a better sense for what happens behinds the scenes. This is important in my world as our firm seeks to grow and build new relationships with individuals in these roles.
Self-SWOTs are enlightening. And if you’re ever in the mood to be even more ‘enlightened,’ ask one of your peers or someone you respect to perform a SWOT analysis about you from their perspective. Reading a SWOT analysis done on you and not by you can be humbling and uncomfortable. But, it is extremely helpful. Perform a SWOT on yourself before the new year – it’s fun. Cheers – KM