Posted on Leave a comment

Ever been involved in a SWOT?

If so, did you find it useful?

As a Business Improvement Specialist and previously in many senior management roles I have taken part in several SWOT Analysis.

Swot analysis

Not all of them have been worth the effort however.

By definition, a SWOT Analysis is a planning tool used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats of a business, a team, a project or venture.

To be successful you need to determine what it is you want to achieve from the analysis; e.g. do you have a specific project in mind and need to evaluate your current capability to complete it?

Or do you want to evaluate the resources at hand against the opportunities & threats in the current marketplace?

The SWOT is made up of:

Internal factors  – strengths & weaknesses such as skills & training, manufacturing capability, intellectual property etc.

External factors – opportunities & threats such as changes to legislation and rapidly evolving technology.

Look at your strengths & weaknesses with an open mind as it is difficult to define them without knowing your objective. In other words,  until you consider the objective you cannot determine whether a particular trait is indeed a pro or con.

Confused? Ok, look at it this way; you have more than likely a whole range of  very different individuals on your team who in turn have a vast array of skillsets and life experiences unique to them. Imagine if you could somehow harness this in achieving your objective or Strategic Vision? Priceless!

Well that’s where a properly constructed SWOT Matrix comes in, which actually in the above example would be even more powerful if aligned with a Skills Matrix of your team.

So how does it work? As you complete the SWOT (something I like to get the whole team involved in by the way as part of the Strategic Planning Workshop) make a list of all the perceived strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats, don’t judge any input for now.

Once compiled try matching the internal strengths with external opportunities. This is how you focus your current strengths on the opportunities in the marketplace.

Alternatively if the strengths required are not on the team you can transform weaknesses to strengths and/or threats to opportunities. Use of the skills matrix will greatly assist in this.

So used smartly you can:

1. use the existing strengths to gain competitive advantage of an opportunity in the marketplace or

2. pinpoint weaknesses or threats which once transformed would give you a competitive advantage and a head start in a yet trending opportunity or a share of the market not yet explored.

As you can see, utilized to it’s full potential SWOT can be a very powerful tool. Depending on your circumstances you may also want to do a PEST Analysis but that’s the subject of another article.

Until then, Johnny

Posted on Leave a comment

Are you just wishing your life away?

Considering we spend such a large chunk of our life working, it would be logical to expect that the majority of us spend that time doing something we love.

But is that the case?

From the number of unhappy people I have met over the years I would suggest not!

So many of us seem to just drift, allowing life to happen to us instead of living the life of our dreams.

As children we dream big, we are not afraid to believe, we are not worried about what others think, we are not afraid of failure.

With adulthood comes relationships, mortgages, peer pressure and a whole lot of other baggage either perceived or real.

Yet we think on average 50,000 thoughts a day and have the ability to think whatever we choose. Surely with that much thinking we can think ourselves into the life we want? What do I mean by that, you say? Well with the ability to think whatever we want and the the average person thinking 50,000 thoughts a day then why not train your mind to think positive thoughts, thoughts of where you want to be and how you are going to get there.

Often though instead of this, many of us reflect on the past, on what we could have done better or on “what-if scenarios”.

Alternatively we day dream about the future, wishing our lives away with ideas like “I’ll exercise once I lose some weight” or “everything will be better once the mortgage is paid off” or “I’ll travel when I retire” or the classic “when I win the lotto…”

But really, all we have, all we will ever have is the NOW. The past is gone and when tomorrow comes it will be today so really if you are not happy with your lot or you want to see changes then the only time you have to do anything about it is NOW.

“Now is the only reality — all else is either memory or imagination. And even for the past to exist as memory, now is needed. It doesn’t exist as the past; it exists as a thought in the present.

So is the case with the future: the future does not exist as the future, it exists as imagination in the present moment. All that exists, exists in the now. Now is the only time there is.” – OSHO

Currumbin exercise


Learn to focus your thoughts on what you do want from life, on what you want to become or do, rather than lamenting on the rut you are in. Instead of wasting time with the “whingers” surround yourself with the “doers”. If you are in a dead end job do something about it; don’t blame your boss, your family, your finances or anything else.

Take the time to think instead of your ideal life, then set your vision and focus on what it will take for you to achieve it.

And remember, you only have NOW to make that change…

Posted on Leave a comment

What is your ‘raison d’être’?

As my personal development journey evolves I find myself looking at other areas of my life.
Where else can I improve? What am I here for?
When my time is done, what impression would I like to leave? What do I want to be remembered by?
Don’t worry, I’m not going all hippy or anything. But I’m sure I’m not alone either in wondering what my life’s purpose is.

So what is our life’s purpose and how do we find it? Personally, I believe that to begin with, our actions (or what we do each day) must be aligned with our thoughts, our values and our aspirations. How many times have you heard that “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”? Well, that’s because when you love it you never feel like it is actually work. Many people who make a living from their passion are almost embarrassed to be compensated for it!

I bet most of you would put your hand up for that position but funnily enough many of us have not taken the time to work out what it is we love doing i.e. putting to one side all financial restrictions what would we be most happy doing with our time if we didn’t have to worry about keeping a roof over our heads?

How good would that feel to be paid to do something that you love to do rather than the drudgery of your 9 to 5 job?

Well, just like we do in our business’ we need to work out firstly what our vision is for our personal life, then decide on the strategy which will deliver this vision.


So what is our vision? It’s strange (and sad) how few of us have taken the time to determine our ideal world and the steps that need to be put in place to make it happen.

  • I would suggest creating a list of all the activities both at work and in your home life where time seems to fly by when you are doing them.
  • Now create a second list of the activities which have you looking at the clock every two minutes.
  • If the list of activities you hate (the clock looking one!) are those which generate your primary source of income then your actions are most likely maligned with your thoughts, passion & values.

Therefore I doubt that: 1) you can ever be happy in your current career 2) you can ever reach your potential if you remain on this path you are certainly not living your life’s purpose!

So what to do? Well now that you have worked out which activities you enjoy ask yourself if these are skills that you could use to generate sufficient income to replace the job above.

For example you might have a passion for fitness and find that others are always asking for your advice? You enjoy helping others so you decide to align your actions with your thoughts, values and aspirations. Enroll in a Diploma in Fitness and become a personal trainer!

Don’t be overwhelmed by the “how.” Instead just visualize the end goal, then break up the tasks to be done to achieve you vision into smaller daily and weekly chunks.

Make time daily when you can work towards your life purpose without distraction. I find 5am is the best time for me before life’s daily stresses give me an excuse not to work on them later.

And remember:

“The Difference Between Who You Are And Who You Want To Be Is What You Do

And What You Have To Do To Get Where You Want To Be

May Not Be Pretty Or May Not Come Easy…”

Johnny Maher

Anxiety & Addictive Behaviour Specialist

Business Productivity Consultant