I learned a valuable nugget from a dear friend and colleague today. He recommended replacing the word “Weaknesses” in typical SWOT Analysis lingo, with the word “Limitations”, making the acronym a SLOT analysis.
My colleague, Mr. George Morrisey, is one of the top authors, speakers, seminar leaders and consultants in the field of management. He is the author of 19 books, including many focused on Strategic Planning and Thinking, both personally and professionally, and at the tender 4th quarter of his career, he still provides insights, wisdom, nuggets, and coaching to the best and brightest. He is a man of wisdom and when he speaks, I listen.
His comment was: “A “Limitation” is a lack or insufficient quantity of a particular strength whereas a “Weakness” implies there is something wrong with you. With a Limitation, you can either work to strengthen it or find a way to work around it so it does not get in the way.”What I found most fascinating is that it didn’t merely change the acronym, it changed my entire mindset and the way one might approach Strategic Planning. Who wants to spend an afternoon examining the weaknesses of the group? Wouldn’t it be much more motivating to find the limitations that hold the team back and then set forth in planning to leap over those limitations or see them differently or eliminate them all together. If something is a limitation, it is holding you back from your greatness. It means you’re still great and just need to find a way to get over or around the “fence” to keep going. If something is a weakness, it conjures up the vision of someone sitting down behind the fence and blaming, not the fence for being in the way, but one’s own skills or lack of them for not being able to overcome the big bad fence. The latter seems to make us “bad” for not being able to see, scale, or circumnavigate the fence. The first makes us focus on all the ways we could move on to greener pastures once we get over the figurative, or in some cases literal, fence.
Where is your focus? Are you looking at weaknesses or limitations and does your progress reflect your viewpoint?
Thanks George for the insight and for being you!
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.