The managerial technique for personal development
An advanced technique born in the managerial field for personal development but that can be used by everyone. The Mirror-SWOT was developed by Prof. Francesco M Zurlo, a psychotherapist who, in addition to working in the clinical field and teaching in the academic field, works with important companies and institutions as a trainer, coach, strategic consultant and communication expert.The tools we choose to use for decision making influence the decision making itself. They are never neutral, also because they don’t exist without someone using them. Every instrument needs its musician.
This awareness is increasingly scarce in organizations, for two reasons.
The first is connected to the formation of habits and the harmful effects of customs.
We become attached to the weapons that we know how to use well and so we do not learn to use other weapons; consequently we will be limited and find ourselves using a long sword in a narrow space only because we don’t know how to use a short sword, which is more useful in that context.
The second is connected to the relationship we have with our instruments, to which we increasingly attribute oracular qualities, as if they were wise advisers, and delegating our responsibilities, our choices and our decisions to the instruments.
There is no single truth that has no limit, a context in which it would cease to be true, even becoming false. (Moreover, man himself is the limit of the truths he can conceive). So even what is right and useful can turn into its opposite.
In this regard, it may be useful to mention the “Mirror SWOT”, a particular application evolution of the SWOT analysis developed in my work in UTOPIA and used for personal development and decision making.
As is known, the SWOT matrix indicates “S-Strengths, strengths”; “W-Weaknesses, weaknesses”; “O-Opportunities, opportunities”; “T-Threats, threats”.
One of the main limitations of the classical matrix, considered in its concrete use, is that it is often used to define reality in a trivial way, that is, as something static and detached from the actors of the game.
In some cases it is even (incorrectly) used to justify what we have already chosen, rather than to explore and discover new things that contribute to decision making.
The “Mirror SWOT” can prove useful to escape these errors and give the right centrality to the problems that arise from the observer and the decision maker.
In M-SWOT we search, for each element of the matrix, the strategic inflection point, the horizon of transformation in its opposite and the conditions of this transformation. The questions we ask ourselves using this evolved and adapted variant for our purposes is: to what extent is this threat a threat? How could it become an opportunity or a strength? What conditions (internal or external), changing, could change the position of an element in the matrix? What should actually change to make me define what I thought of X as Y?
And so on.
This particular adaptation of the SWOT matrix to managerial training contexts has proved particularly useful. The task is structured in such a way as to allow people to discover something, of themselves, of others or of the context, which they did not know before. The task does not stop until the participants discover something completely new about themselves and their work, which can be further questioned.
Furthermore, the process is continued also considering the scenario beyond decision, problem and solution.
The static limits, perceived of the classic use of the tool, are thus transformed into a particularly stimulating dynamic process, which favors the processes of change and learning.
The consultancy-training process in which the M-SWOT tool is used, allows not only to make decisions progressively more integrated, aware, forward-looking and effective, but to build a more refined operational knowledge of that “element of decision equations ”Which is more important than all the other variables, but which is too often forgotten – with negative effects on the whole system: the human being.