top of page

Swotting up for your PD

During the latter parts of my years at high school, I distinctly remember my parents urging me (sometimes quite earnestly) to “swot up for my exams”. I knew what they meant but didn’t really know that the definition of the word “swot” was, to study for something very hard. I probably thought it related to swatting (as in swatting a fly) and that is why/how I foolishly approached my high school studies- with something akin to a nonchalant flick of the wrist!

As a business consultant, I have been a great user and advocate of the S.W.O.T analysis – the assessment of a business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as a means to develop action plans to grow a business and drive success.

When it comes to personal and professional development, I think swotting and SWOTing are complementary and at our upcoming Club Managers Webinar ( we will discuss the use of a Personal S.W.O.T.

Personal S.W.O.T

Even though S.W.O.T was originally used for business, it can help you to assess your particular strengths and weaknesses and provide an analysis structure to guide your professional development. However, it’s not easy.

Firstly, you’ll need to allow time to do it properly and be prepared to be honest, and even critical of yourself. Whilst it’s easy to scrutinise businesses and others, critiquing ourselves can be confronting.

So, dig deep. Identify what you’re good at and what you’re not good at, remembering that a personal S.W.O.T is a tool for you. Once you’ve completed a thorough personal analysis and S.W.O.T you can look at ways to develop and make positive changes to the way you work and live.

Our neurology and the way we react to a self-analysis are important. We can either look at the negatives, viewing the weaknesses uncovered as a threat to our job, career and personal relationships, or we can choose to proactively look to improve and address our weaknesses. On the other side of the coin, we shouldn’t take our strengths for granted and assume that “everyone can do it”. Focus on your strength and make the most of them.

The Elements of a Personal S.W.O.T

Understanding the elements of a SWOT analysis can help make yours more effective. The elements are:


Strengths usually refer to positive attributes or the outputs from doing your job. Your strengths are the qualities, skills, resources, or benefits that can help you accomplish a task or achieve a result and sustain it. Strengths can be intangible or tangible. Intangible strengths include talents, skills, behavioural qualities, relationships, intelligence, and education. Tangible strengths include money, educational materials, equipment, and amenities. Strengths can be qualities that sustain your passion, help you solve problems, make your work easier, or guarantee results.


Your weaknesses are the qualities or circumstances that make it more difficult for you to achieve a goal. Internal weaknesses are personal shortcomings. They include laziness, procrastination, low confidence, and negative behaviours. Situational weaknesses refer to circumstances that prevent you from performing competently. They include financial restraints, lack of knowledge, and absence of resources & support. Weaknesses can also be performance-based, primarily, the lack of skill and experience.


Opportunities are situations, events, or parts of your environment that can help you achieve your goal. Usually, you can utilise them to help you achieve your goals faster or more effectively. While some elements might fall under both strengths and weaknesses, opportunities often refer to advantages that are independent of you. Some opportunities are obvious, while others require a little creativity for you to identify them. A robust economy and higher demand for your club's offerings and services are good examples of opportunities.


Threats are external conditions or situations that can jeopardise your goal achievement. Threats are independent of you and slow down or interrupt your progress. We can allow threats to persist due to our weaknesses, sometimes making our weaknesses worse! Examples of threats include a bad work environment, new competitors, disruptive technologies, distractive colleagues, and economic crises.

So, an in-depth self-analysis (swot) using the tried and tested framework (SWOT) is a powerful way for you to take more effective actions towards personal and professional development.

If you would like to dial into the 26th July webinar to explore this and other aspects of Leadership and Management, please go to


bottom of page