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Professional Development: How to Conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 9:00 AM

Expert Advice, The BSM Way

Written by: Andrew Maller

Andrew Maller Photo
Andrew Maller
Senior consultant

The leaders that I consider most successful appear selfless. They always seem to be focused on making sure those around them have the skills — both tangible and intangible — they need to accomplish the task at hand. Somehow, their focus always seems to be on the team and its ability to meet a desired goal or objective. Rarely is it ever about themselves.

Behind the scenes, however, the most effective leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve their own abilities. This includes developing the tangible skills needed to perform job duties by earning advanced degrees, obtaining industry certifications, and attending training courses. Intangible skills such as effective communication (both verbal and written), conflict management, and organization are just as important to possess.  

So how do those in a leadership role assess what makes them successful in their role today, and more importantly, how do they determine what areas they need to improve upon to be effective in the future? The answer is usually found by looking in the mirror.

Personal SWOT Analysis

One of the best ways to accurately assess where you are today … and how to get to where you want to be tomorrow is by conducting a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a process usually performed by companies and teams to assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Organizations frequently use SWOT to pinpoint what they are good at, how they can improve, where opportunities exists, and what obstacles may stand in the way of reaching goals.

The reality is that the concept of a SWOT analysis can also be used at the personal level by answering these key questions:


  • What are my best professional qualities?
  • What are my best personal qualities?
  • What areas do others seek my guidance?


  • What skill areas do I need the most improvement in?
  • What are my personality flaws?
  • What tasks do I avoid completing?


  • Are there education or certification opportunities available that will foster my development?
  • What skill sets can I acquire to prepare for future projects in my organization?
  • What improvements will have the biggest impact on my ability to be successful?


  • What keeps me up at night?
  • What are the biggest gaps in my skill set that my organization needs me to be proficient in?
  • What industry changes will impact my ability to be successful?

By answering these questions, you can begin to build a personal development plan that will guide you in your effort toward self-improvement. It can also be useful to seek input from others such as your supervisors and peers in identifying your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. When you seek this guidance, not only does it give you a more objective perspective, it also shows others that you are invested in bettering yourself — an effort that will ultimately encourage your team to do the same.

Updating your SWOT: Getting Better Each Day

Performing your own SWOT analysis is not a one-time activity. Those who are most successful in using this process perform a SWOT analysis regularly, identifying specific activities that will turn weaknesses into strengths and threats into opportunities. Since new projects and challenges arise frequently, you should always be evaluating your personal development plan to ensure it can meet your individual goals and those of your organization.

Above all, the goal of your SWOT and personal development plan is to ensure continuous and incremental improvement.

Join Us for Next Week's Webinar: How to Conduct a Personal SWOT Analysis

Are you interested in learning more about how to conduct a personal SWOT analysis and apply it to your development? If so, join me July 27 for a webinar focused on the best ways to map your professional and personal development. I will be hosting this webinar with BSM Connection® member Hayley Boling, chief executive officer of Boling Vision Center in Northern Indiana.

Register for the webinar here. Monthly webinars are just one of the many resources available through BSM Connection, a subscription-based online offering for ophthalmology practices. To learn more about BSM Connection, contact us at 866-220-3184 or

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