Thursday, May 3, 2007

i-TFTD #10: Abolish SWOT Analysis

Abolish SWOT Analysis
From a newsletter from

Did you know that Babe Ruth, a famous baseball player, was once a pitcher? At one point he made the deliberate decision to stop pitching so he could focus on batting. He took a lot of heat for his decision because he was a *good* pitcher. He stuck with his decision though because he knew he had the motivation to be a *great* batter.

Often the difference between being good and being great is making adjustments that allow you to spend more of your time developing your greatest strengths.

Ever had an annual performance review where the first part was about the wonderful things you did that year, but then the focus quickly shifted to a discussion about shoring up your weaknesses? It’s an all-too-common scenario. And it’s probably a waste of time.

The "fix your weaknesses" school believes that with enough discipline, determination and training, anyone can do anything. Unfortunately, it confuses weaknesses and limitations. Weaknesses reflect a lack of skill (how to do something) or knowledge (what you know). Weaknesses can be overcome by education, training, experience and practice. On the other hand, limitations reflect a lack of motivation (what you do well naturally). These really can’t be overcome, because new motivations can’t be acquired.

In fact, if a person has low motivation in a particular area, spelling for example, there is very little likelihood that he or she will ever be a great speller. The best they will be is adequate. Who wants to be adequate?

It’s a much better idea to build on your strengths. If you want to move up from being good to being great, know what your talents and motivations are, and build on them.

Why? Because you will develop what you do best and enjoy most. These are your strengths, and they are yours for life. You can build on them, and they won't let you down. Think about it: what would your life be like if you got paid to do what you do best and truly enjoy? Awesome, isn’t it?

This short snippet is one of many recent articles and books on a concept called Strengths-based Performance Management. The biggest proponent of this is Marcus Buckingham, former head of Gallup, who has mined the huge research database of Gallup to write books such as, First Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths.

The typical SWOT Analysis approach is to spend more time on weakness areas (called as "areas of improvement" or "areas of development") and recommend various actions such as attending training. The latest brain research shows how the basic behavioural tendencies are formed between the ages of 5 and 15, in terms of strong synaptic connections. We love doing and getting better at what we are good at. If we can therefore channelize these talents into work output, we can achieve excellence. We should be attending more training on our strength areas!

1 comment:

Sundar said...

ahh ganesh...good to see u here....