How Growing Strengths Will Improve Your Bottom Line
We all have thoughts, ideas and generally pretty strong feelings about what’s going well and what’s going wrong in our companies. When most of our clients first come to us, the bulk of their time management is spent on their weaknesses. I’m a big believer in many planning concepts in business and certainly the tried and true S.W.O.T. analysis is still a very viable tool.
In case you’re not familiar with this acronym, it stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The process takes you through identifying internal strengths and weaknesses within your own organization. This part is completely focused inside the organization. Then you take a look at what opportunities and threats may exist outside the company. This part is completely focused outside the organization.
This tool has been used successfully for many years by thousands, if not, millions of companies. Most formal business planning processes utilize a S.W.O.T. analysis fairly early in the overall process. The end goal is to know maximize your strengths, minimize existing weaknesses, and understand opportunities that can be exploited, as well as being fully aware of threats out there. For instance, one threat that we must be mindful of is how the big box stores continue to work more and more to get into our lines of business.
Now I want to challenge your thinking a little bit. Since most of us are taught to remove weaknesses and avoid threats at all cost, our tendency is to give a ton of focus to these things. It’s been said that if you spend all your time improving your weaknesses, at the end of your life you’ll end up with a great list of weaknesses that have been improved. I don’t know about you, but I want more in my life than that!
We must focus more on maximizing our strengths and taking full advantage of any opportunities in the market place. However, this goes against the way most people think. Most people are wired to look at negatives.
Last Saturday, the lovely Christy and I got up early and went for one of our hikes we love on the Colorado National Monument. It was a beautiful morning, full of sun and beginning to heat up even as early as we were out on the trail. This particular hike (in Monument Canyon if you ever get out here to see us at one of our events), is incredibly gorgeous. This time of year is a great time to spot various wildlife as well including eagles, hawks, big horn sheep, and this particular morning we got to follow a group of three baby fox for a part of our hike.
As we came around a bend, we passed a lady that was on her way down. As we exchanged hellos, I simply said, “Beautiful morning, isn’t it?” Her answer almost made me slide off the trail. She replied in a sharp and short voice when she said, “Sure would be nice if we could get some cloud cover!!!”
This has everything to do with business. Is your glass half full, or half empty? She was bound and determined to find something wrong with this magical morning, and sure enough, she found it. Instead of focusing on the beauty of this spectacular place with a nice full sun, and amazing wildlife, she immediately looked at what’s wrong.
We must be mindful of the challenges we have in our companies and we must always keep progressing. However, we are best served when we celebrate wins, and maximize our strengths. It’s best for us, it’s best for our team, and ultimately, it’s really the best for our customers.
My very best,