by Beth Maser, Washington DC Chapter, Multiple Divisions
During the course of your everyday business, how many times have you been asked to conduct a SWOT analysis of a company, an industry or trend? A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats for the uninitiated) is great tool that helps you strategize and move forward, or it arms with the necessary information and context to decide on a different course of action. Have you considered being the subject of a SWOT analysis? If your response is, “probably never–and what would I gain by doing so,” I would counter with – a lot!
As our profession keeps evolving at such a rapid pace, we should not be afraid to turn the spotlight on ourselves and conduct a comprehensive, personal SWOT analysis. Strengths are always easier to answer, but identification of our own weaknesses can shed the spotlight on areas that are ripe for professional development and through that we can allow ourselves to identify potential opportunities for both ourselves and our firms.
Taking the time to do an honest self-assessment will also allow you the ability to identify and capitalize on potential opportunities, but at the same time, the assessment will also identify threats, or areas that need improvement. Do not allow any threats to intimidate you–ask yourself how you can take a negative and turn it into a positive for yourself and/or your firm.
Librarians are such a collaborative group of professionals, and none of us is spared from having to cope with change. Many of us are going through, or have already experienced, several rounds of change in their careers. Chances are your threats may have already been addressed via a listserv, a blog or some other social media channel. In fact, I am sure there are webinars, blogs or courses already dedicated to these topics.
Do not be afraid to break out of your comfort zone and learn something new. Attend a local LMA meeting if you have an interest in assisting your firm’s Marketing Department, or an ARMA meeting if you have an interest in e-Discovery or records management. The possibilities–and the opportunities–are endless. The goal of a SWOT analysis is to identify threats and turn them into opportunities. Do yourself, and your career a big favor and make yourself the subject. Forewarned is forearmed and Future Ready–do it before someone else does it for you.
Beth currently serves as LAC Group’s Senior Director of Professional Services. She works closely with our legal staffing branch in Denver and manages LAC Group staff at ABC News, United States Agency for International Development, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and several law firms.
Beth earned her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has a M.A. in History and Public Policy from George Washington University and a B.A. in History from Washington University in St. Louis.
Beth is Secretary for SLA’s Legal Division.