Emerging the the 20th century from the intuition of American Economist Albert Humphre, the SWOT matrix continues to be an instrument of stategic planning that can be used today at an strategic planning that can be used today as an entrepreneurial, professional and personal level, able to hone in on four focal elements: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. From a professional point of view, use of the matrix permits a self-analysis that may not be simple but it is certainly necessary when seeking to achieve a goal or a consolidated professional career or personal status. In aspiring towards personal growth, you firstly need to know yourself, your professional attitudes and your positioning on the market. One cannot simply start out with predefined models. Indeed, the construction of a specific professional branding requires taking a journey through your own history, your professional past, character and attitudes in comparison with the market. As a reflection, a SWOT matrix renders it possible to lay the foundations on which to base an understanding of the extent to which our visions unite or align, to highlight the strengths and weaknesses that we had not considered yet which are useful in realistically understanding what we can accomplish beyond our dreams in order to reach an awareness of the usability of our strengths in the market. The four components of a SWOT Analysis Diving deep into the analysis and expanding on the four fundamentals of the matrix, it is evident that strengths are a fundamental resource, in that they inevitably reflect one's vision and/or mission and hence must be exploited to the utmost extent possible in order to achieve one’s own economic goals. Weaknesses, rather, demonstrate the negatives that hinder and limit the achievement of your goals, highlighting how to go about establishing a plan for improvement before they compromise your path. Opportunities represent the positive external conditions in which it would be strategic to invest time and resources so as to develop continuous growth, thus countering any threats, being uncontrollable exogenous factors, as potential obstacles to the achievement of professional and personal goals. The analysis is quite extensive given that it involves an all-round interaction, both in terms of the internal conditions (regarding strengths and weaknesses) and the external environment (with an analysis of the opportunities and threats).
Strengths (internal to the person)
Weaknesses (internal to the person)
Opportunities (external to the person)
Threats (external to the person)
All is bound by a fil rouge that sets out from an objective, a desired internal condition, and leads to the definition of a well-planned strategy for action towards the external, which can be revisited over time. At the heart of everything lies the most delicate phase: the great task of brainstorming to be carried out, in that from the strengths (being the positive personal and professional aspects) the following may emerge:
particular preferences for a specific profession, job or activity;
personal work and language experience acquired;
university studies and specialisations completed;
character traits (creativity, optimism, energy, empathy, tolerance, capacity towards self-criticism);
possession of specific soft skills, social and relational capacity;
uniqueness of the service offered;
the core business in a niche
From the weaknesses, being the negative personal/professional aspects that are often identified by observing the actions of one's competitors, the following can manifest:
From the opportunities arising due to positive external conditions, which could be beneficial to your situation and which come about from a constant observation of the market scenario, may emerge:
positive trends in certain sectors;
opportunities arising from specific market segments;
the erroneous actions undertaken by competitors.
From the threats caused by negative external conditions that endanger our profitability in the medium- to long-term, the following may become evident:
negative trends in certain sectors with a decrease in job opportunities;
competition characterised by high-level skills and knowledge;
crisis in the market and/or particular
All four of these phases generate a profound introspective undertaking, starting from one’s own personal situation before looking at what must be addressed in one’s past, in particular concerning the individual professional history. This is because reasoning on one’s history means identifying the fil rouge of their past with a view to future employability2. In other words, this means identifying one’s employability in terms of:
the ability of young people to ensure entry into the workforce through knowledge and skills acquired through education;
the ability of those with an occupation to maintain such over time, rendering career advancement possible;
the ability of those needing to relocate to quickly find a job, thanks to their skills having a high level of marketability.
Implementing Action Strategies In light of the results of the SWOT Analysis, it is thus possible to identify strategies for achieving the set objectives. By acting contiguously in this respect, it is possible to:
leverage one’s own strengths;
exploit the opportunities that the market of reference can offer;
shape and redefine your weaknesses to transform them into an opportunity for improvement;
counteract market threats in order to appropriately respond to any eventuality. In particular, there are four different types of strategies:
best utilise the advantages coming from one’s strengths, understood as optimal strategic factors for immediate application due to being direct, functional and in line with who we are as a person-one example is to use our expertise to resolve a sensitive matter that our clients must
The Strength-Opportunity Strategy
overcome our weaknesses and thus be able to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the market, which may be difficult to follow as it may require a huge commitment paired with a significant change in behaviour in order to overcome our critical points— one example would be learning how to use electronic invoicing, so as to closely assist customers whilst understanding the functioning of the mechanisms resulting from the evolution taking
The Weakness-Opportunity Strategy
Best manage threats by identifying the choicest and most appropriate way to employ one’s strengths in order to reduce vulnerability, all weighed up to prevent misuse—one example is working towards a constant management of the relationship with our main customers based on the historical trust established in order to stave off a takeover by our competitors.
The Strength-Threat Strategy
Starting from an awareness of one’s weaknesses in relation to certain external threats, the fourth strategy consists in moving towards two distinct directions:
Drastically abandoning the path undertaken and the objective set due to such not being attainable;
Persevering towards the desired goal, planning defensive manoeuvres to reduce weaknesses and thus any relative
For example, starting from the awareness of your lack of technical preparedness in the field of Privacy and in recognising the increasing checks and balances, a strategy may consist in outsourcing the service or investing time and money to increase the level of knowledge in terms of your own training and staff. The Weakness-Threat Strategy Threats are not always a danger in and of themselves but can represent a continuous stimulus aimed towards emphasising one’s own qualities.
drastically abandoning the path undertaken and the objective set due to such not being attainable;
persevering towards the desired goal, planning defensive manoeuvres to reduce weaknesses and thus any relative
For example, starting from the awareness of your lack of technical preparedness in the field of Privacy and in recognising the increasing checks and balances, a strategy may consist in outsourcing the service or investing time and money to increase the level of knowledge in terms of your own training and staff. The Weakness-Threat Strategy Threats are not always a danger in and of themselves but can represent a continuous stimulus aimed towards emphasising one’s own qualities. The SWOT Analysis acronym thus encompasses a profound process that facilitates rationalisation regarding the individual professional and personal reality, as an effective tool for internal and external self-analysis, through which to determine the various facets of one’s self to effectively “sell” your image, transmit your ideas and knowledge, and more. Using this matrix is thus advisable, to be repeated at least once per year, even for an interesting comparison between various periods of strategic planning undertaken, in order to be aware of how the internal and external scenarios change over time. This means a continuous analysis and interpretation of ongoing developments that can result in a necessary change, so as to effectively retain a leading role in the market.