We are back with the second part of our W.i.k.i.e. series - "Wish I knew it earlier". Here we talk about mental models and frameworks that you should know about and also practice in day to day life so that you do not regret later.
This week we will be talking about a simple model called - S.W.O.T. - pronounced as s-u-aught analysis. It is a simple acronym consisting of 4 parts -
S stands for Strengths W stands for Weaknesses O stands for Opportunities T stands for Threats
Now, the beautiful thing about SWOT is that it can be applied to understand almost everything under the sun without missing any important detail. Whether you want to buy clothes for the winter or buy a house. Whether you want to choose which tuition to join or choose a holiday destination. Everything can be analysed and understood by thinking about its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Simple enough?
Every company like SpaceX, MicroSoft, Coca Cola, Flipkart, Amazon etc use this model to analyse their businesses. Individuals like students can utilise the model for making decisions like choice of subjects, tuitions, career area, profession, company, internship everything. Once you practice it a few times, you will learn to do it mentally and automatically.
Practicing S.W.O.T. makes you smarter every time and helps you avoid pitfalls in your future.
How to use SWOT?
To be precise, SWOT is a planning model which is used for understanding choice available in detail without missing out on important aspect. SWOT model says that whenever you analyse a choice, you must answer yourself 4 questions without fail - 2 internal & 2 external questions.
Strengths: Which elements of the option will give you best advantages over others?
Weaknesses: Which elements of the option will be disadvantages for you?
Opprtunities: Which external factors might you be able to exploit for your benefit?
Threats: Which external factors might cause loss or harm to your plans?
These answers should be compiled in a table that looks like this.
Once you have done this, choice and plan can be made by these CheckPoints -
Do the strengths help you in converting opportunities to success?
Do the strengths help you in reducing the risk posed by threats?
Do the opportunities help in reducing the weaknesses?
Do the weaknesses make you more prone to threats?
How to interpret results?
Above 4 CheckPoints should make it clear to you if the choice is good for you or not. If it is not obvious already let me explain quickly with examples. Your answers to the 4 checkpoints would look somewhat like this -
Do the strengths help you in converting opportunities to success? Because my Biology scores in Class X were good (strength), I can benefit by using it with Biotechnology (choice) to develop modern prosthetics in future (opportunities).
Do the strengths help you in reducing the risk posed by threats? Since my programming is strong (strength), I can always adapt to changes due to artificial intelligence (threats) in mechanical engineering (choice)
Do the opportunities help in reducing the weaknesses? Since the opponent does not have big hitting batsman (opportunity), we do not need to worry about lack of fast bowlers (weakness) in our squad list (choice)
Do the weaknesses make you more prone to threats? Since my chemistry is already poor (weakness) and there is no holiday before the exam (threat), I should give it more time in my study plan (choice).
Since you've understood SWOT, you deserve a joke. Let's see if you can now understand this nerd joke. If you did, tell us about it in comments section.
Without practice, reading this blog will not help. So a good way to practice and learn something very important about yourself is by doing a Personal S.W.O.T. You can watch this video if you want to understand it better before trying it. Good luck.
PS: This is a series of blog posts every weekend - Saturday and Sunday - for my students to learn and benefit from. A way for us to remain connected beyond school and tuition classes. I welcome suggestions from my students about the topics they would like me to research and write about. If your suggestion is selected, I will mention your name in credits of the blog. Please like, share and subscribe to the blog for more grown-up advice. Stay safe and stay connected always :).