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The fundamental keys to maximizing your God-given potential

3 August 2020 at 04:14 | 670 views

The fundamental keys to maximizing your God-given potential

(Conflating SWOT and TOWS to strategically plan for 2020)

By Sinneh T. Moijueh, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Strategic management is the way to go in maximizing your potential. Don’t just plan for the sake of planning or based on what you feel is important - your plan should be highly strategic and anchored in a well reasoned analysis that is based on key fundamentals that actually drive success.

Today, we’ll be applying renowned strategic planning models in the real world to ensure you get the most out of what God deposited in you during creation, guaranteeing that you achieve far beyond what you can ever imagine, think or ask for, according to the power that you carry within (Ephesians 3:20). The most important thing in life is your PURPOSE. Because PURPOSE is linked with POTENTIAL, one of the keys to achieving your PURPOSE is to maximize your God-given POTENTIAL. This article serves as a useful planning guide on how to maximize your POTENTIAL and fulfill your PURPOSE.

We all have STRENGTHS (talents, competencies etc) and WEAKNESSES (important features that you lack), both of which are INTERNAL. Also, the fact that we live in society means we are being affected by conditions/changes taking place in the EXTERNAL environment over which we barely have any control - we can only design our response. The prevailing circumstances in the EXTERNAL environment have the potential to either harm (THREATS) or help us (OPPORTUNITIES). I see potential maximization to be all about playing with INTERNAL and EXTERNAL factors because life is essentially about YOU (internal) and THE WORLD (external) you live in.

To strategically plan for a better future, you need to do a comprehensive SWOT analysis highlighting all of your STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES, and the OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS in the external environment.

To enhance your understanding and also put this article into context, I’ll identify some common SWOT examples that will form the basis of subsequent analysis. Strengths can be sound oratory skills, distinguished writing skills, exceptional skills in mathematics etc Weaknesses can be public speaking fright, poor writing skills etc

OPPORTUNITIES can be increasing demand for commercial students in the job market. THREATS can be increasing automation leading to reduction in need for staff. You can use the PESTLE framework to help identify OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS covering the below thematic areas: (P)olitical eg Changes by the government leading to massive loss of jobs and contracts in the public sector, (E)conomic, (S)ocial, (T)echnological eg Information Technology taking over the world, (L)egal, and (E)nvironmental. For each factor identified under each thematic area, classify as either a THREAT or an OPPORTUNITY.

Having done your SWOT analysis, the TOWS (reverse of SWOT) matrix builds on your results in the SWOT by helping you develop STRATEGIC OPTIONS you can pursue that will maximize your strengths, exploit opportunities, reduce weaknesses and manage threats. It matches the (T)HREATS and (O)PPORTUNITIES to your (W)EAKNESSES and (S)TRENGTHS (TOWS) and comes up with FOUR GROUP of STRATEGIC OPTIONS.

You should draw a rectangle and divide it into four equal parts. The top of the rectangle should be labeled OPPORTUNITIES and THREATS (against the two upper boxes); and the two boxes on the left should be labeled STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES (against the two boxes on the left). See images included in comment box to visualise the above and other SWOT guidance/examples. You will end up with one quadrant each for Strengths and Opportunities (SO), Strengths and Threats (ST), Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO), and the last for Weaknesses and Threats (WT). In each of these FOUR boxes, you should develop strategies.

In the SO quadrant, develop various strategies on how you are going to utilize your strengths to leverage the available opportunities in the external environment. I recommend that 60% of your plan should be focused on executing these strategies. This falls at the very heart of potential maximization. You really don’t want to invest much of your limited time on earth on things you’re hardly going to be good at or not born to do at all. You shine the most and maximize your potential when you focus on areas of gifting/strength. You also want to make sure you’re making the most of the all available opportunities to maximise impact. If you have good writing skills, you really want to make sure you write as much as possible, read more books and take courses on effective writing to further enhance the quality of your writing. You create much more impact when you leverage the positives.

In the ST quadrant, develop strategies that will utilize your Strengths to provide some cover against the Threats in the external environment; In the WO quadrant, you should design strategies that will utilize opportunities to improve on Weaknesses; and in the WT quadrant, you should design strategies that will minimise Weaknesses and manage Threats. Time should be definitely spent improving Weaknesses and managing Threats, but I recommend these to only take about 40% of your time/plan.

Now, evaluate the various STRATEGIC OPTIONS and make a decision on which strategies you want to pursue in 2020. This tool is effective for any strategic decision making process apart from your Annual Plan. For example, so many parents have made strategically wrong decisions in deciding which faculty their children should go in Senior Secondary school. They mostly make uninformed decisions that are usually based on emotions/feelings. Even the group of parents that mostly consider Strengths and Weaknesses usually fail to consider Opportunities and Threats, leading to their children doing courses for which there are little or no job opportunities. Footballing gift is a strength but the opportunities in Sierra Leone are limited. You may want to consider other strengths for which there are opportunities in your country. You can still do this and keep the football on the side because opportunities may come up from overseas. If they fail to come, you still have a good means survival.

To maximize life, assess yourself inward and always consider the external environment that you find yourself in if you must survive the unprecedented challenges of the future. Go through this process every year and make the necessary adjustments as a lot of things change with the passage of time