Archive for May, 2011

Helping Others Learn

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Make learning relevant to people’s jobs.

Opportunities to help others learn come up all of the time in the workplace. When you help a staff member deal with an angry customer, you have an opportunity to help her learn. When a team member comes to you frustrated by a recent change in a work system, you have an opportunity to help him understand why the change was necessary.

Whether you regard this as ‘training’ or not, this kind of learning doesn’t just take place in formal classrooms, seminars, or online courses. And you don’t have to be a trainer to want to help people learn new things, and better understand their roles within the organization. Many people, at many levels, train others at some point – and they have a role in creating a learning environment that affects the way work is done, and how their teams are taught new things.

So how can you help people learn effectively within your company or team? There are many ways to do this, some of which involve actual ‘lessons.’ However, the general idea is to create an environment where people are committed to learning, and in which they are supported in their efforts.

Motivating People to Learn

People aren’t always motivated to learn. Some simply don’t want to change. Others think that learning happens naturally, and that it’s an inevitable outcome of instruction. Clearly that isn’t always true, because you can teach someone lots of skills, and still not see that person actually apply those skills.

That’s why you need to motivate people to learn and change.

A useful model for doing this is ARCS, which stands for ‘Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction.’ This was developed by John Keller in 1983, and it’s been used and validated by teachers and trainers across a wide range of learning environments – from universities to the military.

Here are the basic components of the ARCS model:

  • AttentionCapture learners’ attention at the start of the session, and maintain it throughout.

    • Ask learners questions to make them think about why they should learn the skill.

    • Use role-playing or other activities to show the importance of learning the skill. For instance, you could play the role of an angry customer, and have the learner respond to you as a way of demonstrating the best way to handle a difficult situation.

    • Use specific examples, and ask learners to offer their own solutions, to stimulate their interest further.

  • Relevance – Explain to learners how important the lesson is, and how it could benefit them.

    • Describe the benefits. For example, by learning strategies for handling angry customers, your staff will be less anxious about dealing with them.

    • Relate the lesson to their current jobs and experiences. The learning materials, assignments, and projects should be applicable to their work, and to specific situations they face in their daily jobs.

    • Develop a connection between learning the skill and developing their careers. Discuss issues like increased satisfaction, higher pay, and promotion opportunities.

  • Confidence – Tell learners what is expected of them.

    • Set clear objectives for the session, and check in regularly with learners to make sure they’re not falling behind.

    • Design projects and lessons so that learners experience small successes along the way, before they completely master the skill.

    • Give learners enough time to practice skills, so that they’ll be successful when they apply these skills to the job.

    • Make sure you’re teaching at the right level. Learners can lack motivation if something is too difficult – or too easy.

    • Allow learners to have input into their learning by helping them create their own learning goals.

  • Satisfaction – Reinforce successes and motivation.

    • Give lots of feedback. Make sure it’s specific, timely, and relates to how learners can put the skill into practice on the job.

    • Recognize learners’ successes. Praise often, and find ways to reward achievements. Let learners know that you and the company value and appreciate expertise and high levels of skill and competence.

    • Look at ways to increase motivation. Find out what learners are interested in and passionate about. And find ways to get learners to motivate one another as well.

Learning Tips

As well as increasing the motivation to learn, there are many ways to make your sessions more interesting and enjoyable. These ideas can be used for formal lessons, or for spontaneous learning opportunities that present themselves.

You can help the learning process by doing the following:

  • Use pre-instruction questions – These can get learners to think about why they should be learning this new skill, as well as to appreciate the benefits of learning.

  • Use conceptual models – These are often a useful way for helping learners to store and retrieve information. Mental models (which can be in the form of diagrams and charts) are often helpful for learning the details of a lesson.

  • Vary the learning material – This will help you deal with the different ways in which people learn. You can vary your material for different learning styles as follows:

    • Visual Learners – Charts, graphs, or images are useful for representing the information being conveyed, as well as information in books or reports.

    • Auditory Learners – Lectures, presentations, and group discussions help auditory learners ‘talk through’ what’s being presented.

    • Kinesthetic Learners – These learners like hands-on practice that’s either real or simulated.

    We all have our own preferred learning styles. If you provide as many different learning experiences as sensibly possible, you’ll be more likely to connect with each learner.

Tip:
There are several different learning style schemes beyond the visual, auditory and kinesthetic model used above. Click here to learn about Felder & Silverman’s approach, and see article on 4MAT to find out about the Kolb and Honey & Mumford schemes.

  • Group learners together – Encourage learning and understanding by having people work with others who are learning the same skills. By helping one another, they can all reinforce what they’re learning. Everyone in the team will then benefit from the strengths of the individual members.

  • Provide opportunities for reflection and thinking – Learning journals are a popular and effective way for people to write down their thoughts about how the learning process itself has been helpful to their overall development.

  • Actively review the lesson at the end – What progress did the learners make, and what difficulties did they encounter? By revisiting the lesson, you have an opportunity to learn from the experience yourself – and hopefully figure out how to improve the content or approach next time. Reviews also give learners opportunities to analyze their performance, and increase their commitment to continuous learning.

  • Use all of your emotional intelligence and communication skills – This means establishing a connection with learners, listening actively, using empathy where appropriate, being patient, and showing genuine interest in the people and in your teaching. Your attitude toward learning has a huge impact on the learners’ attitudes, so make sure you’re a good role model for continuous, active learning.

For more information, please see Bite-Sized Training session on Training for Non-Trainers. It’s full of practical tips on getting buy-in from learners, using objective-based training, and creating lesson plans.

Key Points

People usually learn best when they’re motivated. Although you can’t make someone learn, you can create an environment that supports and encourages learning success. Use an effective teaching style that allows people to participate in their learning. Find ways to emphasize the benefits of learning new skills, and make learning relevant to people’s jobs. Encourage them to take control of their own learning, and allow them to set their own objectives. The more you develop motivation to learn, the more successful you’ll probably be. Start today to recognize the value of learning, and see the many learning opportunities around you!

Making Better and More Consistent Decisions

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Don’t leave decisions to chance

As a valued team member in your organization, you probably make decisions every day. Some decisions are relatively straightforward and simple: Who should serve on the quality assurance committee? Others are quite complex: To improve quality, should we switch to a new manufacturing process?

The first decision will impact people’s workloads, and some people might be disappointed when they aren’t chosen. However, you know the strengths of individual members of your team, so you can put together a good committee.

On the other hand, changing a manufacturing process is a very complicated decision. You will have to consider what new processes are available. How much will the change cost? When will you see a return on your investment? How large will that return be? How long will it take to train people to use the new system? What impact will there be on our customers? And how will this affect our supplier relationships?

Simple decisions usually need a simple decision-making process. But difficult decisions typically involve issues like these:

  • Uncertainty – Many facts may not be known.
  • Complexity – You have to consider many interrelated factors.
  • High-risk consequences – The impact of the decision may be significant.
  • Alternatives – Each has its own set of uncertainties and consequences.
  • Interpersonal issues – It can be difficult to predict how other people will react.

With these difficulties in mind, the best way to make a complex decision is to use an effective process. Clear processes usually lead to consistent, high-quality results, and they can improve the quality of almost everything we do. In this article, we outline a process that will help improve the quality of your decisions.

A Systematic Approach to Decision Making

A logical and systematic decision-making process helps you address the critical elements that result in a good decision. By taking an organized approach, you’re less likely to miss important factors, and you can build on the approach to make your decisions better and better.

There are six steps to making an effective decision:

  1. Create a constructive environment.
  2. Generate good alternatives.
  3. Explore these alternatives.
  4. Choose the best alternative.
  5. Check your decision.
  6. Communicate your decision, and take action.

Here are the steps in detail:

Step 1: Create a constructive environment

To create a constructive environment for successful decision making, make sure you do the following:

  • Establish the objective – Define what you want to achieve.

  • Agree on the process – Know how the final decision will be made, including whether it will be an individual or a team-based decision. The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Model  is a great tool for determining the most appropriate way of making the decision.

  • Involve the right peopleStakeholder Analysis is important in making an effective decision, and you’ll want to ensure that you’ve consulted stakeholders appropriately even if you’re making an individual decision. Where a group process is appropriate, the decision-making group – typically a team of five to seven people – should have a good representation of stakeholders.

  • Allow opinions to be heard – Encourage participants to contribute to the discussions, debates, and analysis without any fear of rejection from the group. This is one of the best ways to avoid groupthink (member only). The Stepladder Technique is a useful method for gradually introducing more and more people to the group discussion, and making sure everyone is heard. Also, recognize that the objective is to make the best decision under the circumstances: it’s not a game in which people are competing to have their own preferred alternatives adopted.

  • Make sure you’re asking the right question – Ask yourself whether this is really the true issue. The 5 Whys technique is a classic tool that helps you identify the real underlying problem that you face.

  • Use creativity tools from the start – The basis of creativity is thinking from a different perspective. Do this when you first set out the problem, and then continue it while generating alternatives. Our article Generating New Ideas will help you create new connections in your mind, break old thought patterns, and consider new perspectives.

Step 2: Generate Good Alternatives

This step is still critical to making an effective decision. The more good options you consider, the more comprehensive your final decision will be.

When you generate alternatives, you force yourself to dig deeper, and look at the problem from different angles. If you use the mindset ‘there must be other solutions out there,’ you’re more likely to make the best decision possible. If you don’t have reasonable alternatives, then there’s really not much of a decision to make!

Here’s a summary of some of the key tools and techniques to help you and your team develop good alternatives.

  • Generating Ideas

    • Brainstorming is probably the most popular method of generating ideas.

    • Another approach, Reverse Brainstorming, works similarly. However, it starts by asking people to brainstorm how to achieve the opposite outcome from the one wanted, and then reversing these actions.

    • The Charette Procedure is a systematic process for gathering and developing ideas from very many stakeholders.

    • Use the Crawford Slip Writing Technique to generate ideas from a large number of people. This is an extremely effective way to make sure that everyone’s ideas are heard and given equal weight, irrespective of the person’s position or power within the organization.

  • Considering Different Perspectives

    • The Reframing Matrix uses 4 Ps (product, planning, potential, and people) as the basis for gathering different perspectives. You can also ask outsiders to join the discussion, or ask existing participants to adopt different functional perspectives (for example, have a marketing person speak from the viewpoint of a financial manager).

    • If you have very few options, or an unsatisfactory alternative, use a Concept Fan to take a step back from the problem, and approach it from a wider perspective. This often helps when the people involved in the decision are too close to the problem.

    • Appreciative Inquiry forces you to look at the problem based on what’s ‘going right,’ rather than what’s ‘going wrong.’

  • Organizing Ideas

    This is especially helpful when you have a large number of ideas. Sometimes separate ideas can be combined into one comprehensive alternative.

Step 3: Explore the Alternatives

When you’re satisfied that you have a good selection of realistic alternatives, then you’ll need to evaluate the feasibility, risks, and implications of each choice. Here, we discuss some of the most popular and effective analytical tools.

  • Risk

    In decision making, there’s usually some degree of uncertainty, which inevitably leads to risk. By evaluating the risk involved with various options, you can determine whether the risk is manageable.

    • Risk Analysis helps you look at risks objectively. It uses a structured approach for assessing threats, and for evaluating the probability of events occurring – and what they might cost to manage.

  • Implications

    Another way to look at your options is by considering the potential consequences of each.

    • Six Thinking Hats helps you evaluate the consequences of a decision by looking at the alternatives from six different perspectives.

    • Impact Analysis is a useful technique for brainstorming the ‘unexpected’ consequences that may arise from a decision.

  • Validation

    Determine if resources are adequate, if the solution matches your objectives, and if the decision is likely to work in the long term.

Step 4: Choose the Best Alternative

After you have evaluated the alternatives, the next step is to choose between them. The choice may be obvious. However, if it isn’t, these tools will help:

  • Grid Analysis, also known as a decision matrix, is a key tool for this type of evaluation. It’s invaluable because it helps you bring disparate factors into your decision-making process in a reliable and rigorous way.

  • Use Paired Comparison Analysis to determine the relative importance of various factors. This helps you compare unlike factors, and decide which ones should carry the most weight in your decision.

  • Decision Trees are also useful in choosing between options. These help you lay out the different options open to you, and bring the likelihood of project success or failure into the decision making process.

For group decisions, there are some excellent evaluation methods available.

When decision criteria are subjective and it’s critical that you gain consensus, you can use techniques like Nominal Group Technique and Multi-Voting. These methods help a group agree on priorities, for example, so that they can assign resources and funds.

The Delphi Technique uses multiple cycles of anonymous written discussion and argument, managed by a facilitator. Participants in the process do not meet, and sometimes they don’t even know who else is involved. The facilitator controls the process, and manages the flow and organization of information. This is useful where you need to bring the opinions of many different experts into the decision-making process. It’s particularly useful where some of these experts don’t get on!

Step 5: Check Your Decision

With all of the effort and hard work that goes into evaluating alternatives, and deciding the best way forward, it’s easy to forget to ‘sense check’ your decisions. This is where you look at the decision you’re about to make dispassionately, to make sure that your process has been thorough, and to ensure that common errors haven’t crept into the decision-making process. After all, we can all now see the catastrophic consequences that over-confidence, groupthink, and other decision-making errors have wrought on the world economy.

The first part of this is an intuitive step, which involves quietly and methodically testing the assumptions and the decisions you’ve made against your own experience, and thoroughly reviewing and exploring any doubts you might have.

A second part involves using a technique like Blindspot Analysis to review whether common decision-making problems like over-confidence, escalating commitment, or groupthink may have undermined the decision-making process.

A third part involves using a technique like the Ladder of Inference to check through the logical structure of the decision with a view to ensuring that a well-founded and consistent decision emerges at the end of the decision-making process.

Step 6: Communicate Your Decision, and Move to Action!

Once you’ve made your decision, it’s important to explain it to those affected by it, and involved in implementing it. Talk about why you chose the alternative you did. The more information you provide about risks and projected benefits, the more likely people are to support the decision.

And with respect to implementation of your decision, our articles on Project Management and Change Management will help you get this implementation off to a good start!

Key Points

An organized and systematic decision-making process usually leads to better decisions. Without a well-defined process, you risk making decisions that are based on insufficient information and analysis. Many variables affect the final impact of your decision. However, if you establish strong foundations for decision making, generate good alternatives, evaluate these alternatives rigorously, and then check your decision-making process, you will improve the quality of your decisions.



Getting the Most From Your Job.

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The key to job satisfaction is your attitude.

“Find a job you like, and you add five days to every week.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

For many of us, the idea of having a job that is truly satisfying – the kind where work doesn’t feel like work anymore – is pure fantasy. Sure, professional athletes, ski patrollers and golf pros may have found a way of doing what they love and getting paid for it. But is there actually anyone out there who dreams of sitting at a desk and processing paper, or watching products fly by them on conveyor belts, or working to solve other people’s problems?

Career dreams are one thing; practical reality is often another. When they happily coincide, seize the opportunity and enjoy it! Luckily, when they do not, it’s good to know that it is possible to get job satisfaction from a practical choice of career. Job satisfaction doesn’t have to mean pursuing the ultra-glamorous, or making money from your hobby. You can work at job satisfaction, and find it in the most unexpected places…

The heart of job satisfaction is in your attitude and expectations; it’s more about how you approach your job than the actual duties you perform. Whether you work on the farm, a production line, in the corner office or on the basketball court, the secret is to understand the key ingredients of your unique recipe for job satisfaction.

Identify Your Satisfaction Triggers

There are three basic approaches to work: is it a job, a career, or a passion? Depending on which type of work you are in right now, the things that give you satisfaction will vary.

  • If you work at a JOB, the compensation aspects of the position will probably hold more appeal than anything else, and have the greatest impact on whether you stay or go.
  • If you work at a CAREER, you are looking for promotions and career development opportunities. Your overall satisfaction is typically linked with your status, power, or position.
  • If you work at a PASSION, the work itself is the factor that determines your satisfaction, regardless of money, prestige, or control.

Inevitably, these are generalizations, and you will probably find that you get satisfaction from more than one approach to work. Being aware of the type of work you are doing, and the things you need for job satisfaction, will help you to identify and adjust your satisfaction expectations accordingly.

Building Job Satisfaction

Once you have identified the blend of status, power, or intrinsic enjoyment that need to be present in your work for you to feel satisfied, you then need to work on some of our seven ‘ingredients’ for a satisfying job. These ingredients are:

  • Self-awareness.
  • Challenge.
  • Variety.
  • Positive attitude.
  • Knowing your options.
  • Balanced lifestyle.
  • A sense of purpose.

Self-Awareness

The first step in the search for job satisfaction is to know yourself. If you’re to be happy and successful, you need to understand your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you identify what types of profession will allow you to build on those strengths, and minimize those weaknesses. A useful framework for conducting this type of analysis is a Personal SWOT analysis.

It is difficult to feel satisfied with something you aren’t very good at, so rather than spend time beating yourself up about it, take a long hard look at the things at which you excel, and try to find a position that uses some of those skills too.

Another important component of self-awareness is to have a good understanding of your personality traits and your preferred style of working. A useful tool for this is Schein’s Career Anchors (premium members’ article), which helps you understand what you value and what motivates you in your career, (and also what you do not value, and what de-motivates you).

By increasing your self-awareness, you can work towards the ideal blend of compensation, status, and intrinsic reward that suits you, and that you can realistically achieve. Knowing this will help you to set appropriate goals, and manage your own expectations.

The greater the match between your preferences and the requirements of the job, the more potential for job satisfaction you have. The remaining six ‘ingredients’ determine how much of that potential you actually achieve.

Challenge

Some days you may deny it, but we all thrive on interesting challenges. Does this mean your job has to be the head of engineering at NASA? No, different things challenge different people at different times. You just need to figure out what you can do to make sure you don’t allow yourself to go stale at work.

Even if the job itself is not all that challenging, you can make it challenging. Some great ideas here include:

  • Set performance standards for yourself – aim to beat your previous record, or set up a friendly competition among co-workers.
  • Teach others your skills – little is more challenging, or rewarding, than passing your skills and knowledge on to others.
  • Ask for new responsibilities – these will give you opportunities to stretch yourself.
  • Start or take on a project that uses skills you would like to use, or want to improve.
  • Commit to professional development – take courses, read books or trade magazines and attend seminars. However you do it, keep your skills fresh and current.

Variety

Closely related to the need for challenge is the need to minimize boredom. Boredom is a common culprit when it comes to job dissatisfaction. When you are bored, you lack interest and enthusiasm, and even a well-matched job becomes dissatisfying. Some common methods to alleviate boredom at work include:

  • Cross train and learn new skills.
  • Ask to be moved to a new assignment or department requiring the same skills.
  • Ask to work a different shift.
  • Volunteer to take on new tasks.
  • Get involved with committee work.
  • Go on extended leave, or take a sabbatical.

Tip 1:
If your job is inherently repetitive, then add variety by changing your routine. Instead of sitting in the lunchroom for your break, go outside, or reposition your desk so you have different scenery.

Tip 2:
All jobs have elements or tasks that are boring, and if you’re to do your job well, you’ll need to do these tasks well (you can bet that there are things that even your CEO doesn’t like doing!) However, make sure there’s plenty of interesting work to offset the boredom.

Positive Attitude

Attitude plays a huge role in how you perceive your job and your life in general. If you are depressed, angry or frustrated, you’re much less likely to be satisfied with anything. Making a change to a positive attitude is a complex process that requires a lot of work and a strong commitment. However, over time, you can turn your internal dialogues around and start to see most events in your life as positive and worthwhile. Here are some tips:

  • Stop negative thoughts from entering your mind.
  • Reframe your thoughts to the positive.
  • Put the events of the day in the correct context.
  • Don’t dwell on setbacks.
  • Commit to viewing obstacles as challenges.
  • Accept that mistakes are simply opportunities to learn.
  • Become an optimist.

To help you with your quest to become positive, MindTools has a useful article titled Rational Positive Thinking, which helps you to identify and change negative and unhappy thinking patterns.

Know Your Options

When you feel trapped, you can start to get anxious. At first you wonder what else is out there for you. This progresses to the point where you become convinced that anything other than the job you’re doing has got to be more satisfying. To combat this, continuously scan your environment for opportunities. When you feel you have options, you have more control. When you make a positive choice to stay with a job, that job has much more appeal than if you feel forced to stay in because you feel you have no alternative.

  • Keep a list of your accomplishments.
  • Update your resume on a regular basis.
  • Keep up to date on employment trends.
  • Research other jobs that interest you.
  • Adopt an ‘I’m keeping my options open’ approach.

Maintain a Balanced Lifestyle

You’ll have heard many times that you need to keep your life and work in balance. When you focus too much on one at the expense of the other, you risk creating all sorts of problems. When work takes over your life, it is easy to resent it and lose your sense of perspective: suddenly everything about your life is clouded with negativity.

The Life Career Rainbow (premium members’ article) and The Wheel of Life are two great tools to use when seeking to attain and maintain an appropriate work life balance.

Find a Sense of Purpose

Last, but certainly not least (for many people) is the need to find a sense of purpose in the things you do. Even if you have a boring job, it helps a lot if you can see the real benefit you’re providing for people.

Even the most mundane job usually has purpose if you dig deep enough. And if it doesn’t, should you be wasting your life doing it?

If you’re struggling to see the value in what you do (or if you want to sharpen your image of it) see our article on mission statements and vision statements: Unleashing the Power of Purpose.

Key points:

Work plays a significant role in our lives. In our quest to be happy and productive, having a strong sense of job satisfaction is important. When you are dissatisfied with your job, this tends to have an influence on your overall outlook on life. While you may not be in the career of your dreams right now, it is still your responsibility to make sure that what you are doing is satisfying to you.

By knowing the key elements that go into job satisfaction, you can choose to take control and make the changes you need to feel really satisfied and motivated by what you do. Make one small change at work today that makes you feel good or different – build on that change and create a satisfying environment for yourself.


Discover new opportunities.
Manage and eliminate threats.

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Personal SWOT Analysis


SWOT Analysis is a powerful technique for identifying Strengths and Weaknesses, and for examining the Opportunities and Threats you face.

Used in a personal context, it helps you develop your career in a way that takes best advantage of your talents, abilities and opportunities.

What makes SWOT particularly powerful is that with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you are well placed to take advantage of. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that would otherwise catch you unawares.

More than this, by looking at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to distinguish yourself from your peers, developing the specialized talents and abilities needed to accelerate your career.

How to use the tool:

To carry out a SWOT Analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the following questions:

Strengths:

  • What advantages (for example, skills, education or connections) do you have that others don’t have?
  • What do you do better than anyone else?
  • What personal resources do you have access to?
  • What do other people (and your boss in particular) see as your strengths?

Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don’t be modest; be as objective as you can. (If you are having any difficulty with this, try writing down a list of your characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths!)

In looking at your strengths, think about them in relation to the people around you – for example, if you’re a great mathematician and the people around you are great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role: it’s more likely to be a necessity!

Weaknesses:

  • What could you improve?
  • What should you avoid?
  • What things are the people around you likely to see as weaknesses?

Again, consider this from a personal and external basis: Do other people perceive weaknesses that you do not see? Do co-workers consistently out-perform you in key areas? It is best to be realistic now, and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.

Opportunities:

  • Where are the good opportunities facing you?
  • What are the interesting trends you are aware of?

Useful opportunities can come from such things as:

  • Changes in technology, markets and your company, on both a broad and narrow scale.
  • Changes in government policy related to your field.
  • Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, and suchlike.
  • Local Events.

A useful approach to looking at opportunities is also to look at your strengths and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities.

Alternatively, look at your weaknesses and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating them.

Threats:

  • What obstacles do you face?
  • What are the people around you doing?
  • Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing?
  • Is changing technology threatening your position?
  • Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten you?

Just as your strengths can often bring opportunities, your weaknesses can often bring threats. Check the weaknesses you’ve listed, and make sure that you’ve identified any threats that could come from them.

Take Action

Finally, update your personal planning system to reflect your SWOT Analysis. Where you’ve identified possible opportunities, set goals to explore them, with a view to capitalizing on them. Where you’ve identified possible threats, set goals to investigate them, with a view to eliminating, managing or minimizing them.

Key points:

A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats you face. This helps you to focus on your strengths, minimize weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available.

Carrying out this analysis will often be illuminating – both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, and in putting problems into perspective.