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Ramesh was expecting a promotion to the next higher job on the basis of his experience. He felt pretty confident that this would come through as a matter of course. After all, hadn’t he worked in that area for the last few years? Wasn’t he the acknowledged expert in his area? He knew that his talents were appreciated by his organization. His boss was shortly moving to another assignment within the organization and Ramesh felt any day now he would be asked to take his place.

When the organizational changes were announced, Ramesh was shocked to find that he had been superseded by a younger colleague. It was clear that the organization was placing a premium on expertise in new areas of technology for future growth and experience in cross- functional teams, both of which Ramesh lacked. As his manager told him, when Ramesh went to him in a huff and asked indignantly about his promotion : “We are looking for the future, Ramesh. You are really good at your current job. We value you but you just don’t meet the requirements of the higher job.”

Put him down as yet one more victim of complacency. Ramesh had not bothered to understand what he needed to do to grow in his organization.

A good start point for career and personal development is to do a SWOT analysis. SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, and Opportunities & Threats) originated from military strategy and came to personal development via business strategy. Organizations do SWOT analysis to take stock of where they are and where they want to be. It gives them considerable insight, critical for drawing up their business strategies.

Likewise, SWOT for an individual helps you take stock of where you stand. Remember that while Strengths & Weaknesses are internal to you as an individual, Opportunities and Threats are external. You need to scan your environment to spot both opportunities and threats.

Doing well in your current job does not automatically make you the right choice for the next job. Take the trouble to understand what the crucial for success factors are for your next assignment. What do you need to acquire by way of knowledge, skills and attitude to fulfill those requirements? Do you know what is happening in your business, your industry which could affect your organization and you as well?

It is useful to do a SWOT when you are taking up a new assignment or prior to taking up higher responsibilities. However, doing a SWOT is serious stuff. You need the right data and must invest time to do a proper analysis. You can’t finish a SWOT at 12 noon and say the next one is due after lunch.

Our suggestion to Ramesh: Learn from this experience. Figure out where you stand. Don’t lose too much time moping over what has happened. Get cracking and do a serious SWOT as soon as you can. Draw up specific actions which follow

As I told him: If you don’t know yourself and your job well, who else will?

By the way, when was the last time you did a SWOT?


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