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One of my favorite recession survival tools April 6, 2009

Posted by John M McKee in "John M McKee", Action Plans, anxiety, Business, Business Success Coach, career planning, Career Wisdom, Coaching, DIRECTV, Job advice, SWOT analysis, Tempur-Pedic, unemployment action, Veracity.
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The recent unemployment figures and action at General Motors continue to reinforce that this is an equal opportunity recession.  It doesn’t matter what type of work you do, if your employer is looking for ways to reduce expenses, chances are you are at risk.  Here’s a good solid approach to prepare for that:

I believe that corporate employees, just as with business owners and executives, with serious aspirations would be very wise to analyze both their macro and micro environments with a “Self-SWOT” analysis to best assure both their survival and advancement in today’s volatile, recessionary business climate.

For decades, SWOT analysis has been a basic, straightforward model providing strategic direction to organizations worldwide. By assessing a business entity’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, SWOT analysis serves to maximize a business’ chance for success.  In the same manner, individuals should perform a Self-SWOT analysis to identify intrinsic qualities (strengths and weaknesses) that may help or hinder them in the workplace, as well as external issues (opportunities and threats) that may work for or against them as they attempt to climb the corporate ladder.

Conducting a Self-SWOT analysis with regularity is, in my opinion, the single most effective ‘power tool’ one can use in optimizing their career.  Once complete, the results will help you identify, hone and leverage beneficial qualities in the workplace, and minimize obstacles that must be overcome to achieve desired results relative to one’s career.  But, while the Self-SWOT exercise is of fundamental importance, it’s not enough to simply identify one’s inner strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. Rather, the strategic application of that key learning is what will positively affect one’s success in the workplace.

Here are some basic questions to ask yourself in a Self-SWOT analysis, and how to parlay the results into tangible “workplace wins”:
Strengths:
·      Core competencies, experience, education?
·      Personal competitive advantages amongst peers?
·      Financial status (risk tolerance)?
·      Networks: personal and professional affiliations through which to make connections, contacts and garner support?
·      Reputation, philosophy and values?

Weaknesses:
·      Gaps in mission critical skills?
·      Gaps in competitive strength?
·      Reputation, presence and image?
·      Vulnerabilities: cultural, attitudinal, behavioral?
·      Location and geographical?

Opportunities:
·      Timely developments and trends (personal, company, industry)?
·      Peer/superior vulnerabilities?
·      Technology development and innovation?
·      Support system(s): peers, family, personal other?
·      Tactical developments, information, research and findings?

Threats:
·      Effect of corporate culture/politics?
·      Personal limitations and obstacles (i.e., geography, etc.)?
·      Sustaining/cultivating skills through ongoing practice/education?
·      Anticipated/possible/likely changes to business landscape?
·      Insurmountable competition (peers, etc.)?

Once your Self-SWOT analysis is complete:
·      Carpe Diem. Core strengths and opportunities should be immediately capitalized upon and, optimally, should be matched, or paired up, to optimize the potential for success.
·      Turn Weakness into Strength. Rather than simply downplaying weaknesses, one should attempt to actually convert them into strengths.
·      Turn Threat into Opportunity. Similarly, every attempt should be able to convert threats into opportunities.

Good Luck!

– john

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