Skills for Business and Management

by Martin Sedgley

Your personal SWOT analysis

In order to develop and maintain your self-efficacy throughout your business and management degree, you can create a personalised SWOT analysis. This individual form of the model uses some different criteria from those you may be familiar with from the organisational one:

Strengths

Affirm the capabilities that you know will support your progress as a successful student on a business and management degree.

Worries

Rationally identify your perceived pressures from the academic requirements and other personal challenges in the coming semester.

Opportunities

Recognise the opportunities in the near future that will move you towards the achievement of your well-formed outcomes that you identified in the previous activity.

Tendencies

What are the habitual behaviours that limit or even sabotage your potential achievements ?

You can find detailed explanation of each of these SWOT categories in Chapter 13 of the textbook.

A simple SWOT matrix template is presented below. You can create your own version, even as a larger scale poster for your wall. Gather your ideas for each quadrant by using the clustering process or simply as a list in each box if you prefer:

SWOT matrix template

Action planning

Once you have devised a set of personal objectives, or well-formed outcomes as shown in the earlier activity, you can plan a series of steps towards achieving those. The following activity can enable you to do that:

Planning to capitalise on every opportunity.

Changing the way that you perceive stress

Take one of the major, external factors you identified in the Worries section of the SWOT analysis. Apply the cognitive-behavioural reframing process outlined below in Activity 6 to transform the worry you had been feeling about that into a more constructive perspective.

Activity 6.

1. Identify the trigger
Write a short statement to describe the external source of stress.

2. Recognise your emotional reaction
Capture your main emotions about that situation in just a few words. What are the first feelings that you have when you start to re-experience that?

3. Express your thoughts
Now write out fully what you mind tells you about this situation. Do this in a completely uncensored way. Allow yourself to express every thought that comes to mind as a stream of consciousness. Do not analyse, simply vent all the worries that this stressful situation evokes in you. Use prompts such as, ‘This means that …’, ‘ … because …’, ‘… and so I …’ to help you delve deeper into the story that your mind creates around this situation.

4. Verify the thoughts
Once you have exhausted your chain of thoughts, go back through each separate statement, rationally examining whether this is actually true or not. You verify the statements as either False (F), True (T) or Don’t know (DK). Strive to be as objective as you can be. Question whether this reflects the factual reality that someone else would observe in this situation (T), or whether this is created from your perceptions (F). Go back through each of your thoughts in Step 3 above now, using the F / T / DK verification system.

5. Reframe your self-criticism
Identify up to three of the false statements that seem to have a strong emotional charge for you. Reframe these below as positive affirmations, i.e. transform the opposite of each statement into a constructive call to action. For example, if one of your false concepts is, ‘I can’t complete this project in time’, you can reframe this as, ‘I progress each day to meet the deadline successfully’. Remember the abiding principle of affirmations – personal, present, positive – and write you reframed statements below.

6. Create a new reality
Now imagine yourself in each of the positive scenarios represented by those affirmations. See, hear and feel the experience of overcoming what had actually only been a mental projection.

Changing what does not work for you

Again, refer back to your earlier, personal SWOT analysis. Select one of the tendencies that you identified, and which you feel a strong motivation to change.

Work out how you would like to change or stop that in the Activity below.

Replace an unproductive tendency with useful behaviour

The habit I would like to change is:
Because it is undermining me by …
Eliminating or reducing this habit will help me to …
I can enact this change by …
I will maintain this change each day for ______ days

Video: Coping strategies for Independent Learning (ask Questions)

Video: Value of Independent Learning for employability. (Coming soon)