Ever used a fly swatter? It is so satisfying! Until you miss. Then…not so much. Whoosh! Bam! Whoosh! Nothing but air passing through mesh squares. Nothing but smacking inanimate objects. Nothing but mission failure.

But, when you connect and solve that problem, namely, the fly, life is good. Hope is reborn. The immediate environment is safe. All is well and even Mr. Miyagi is proud!

Did you know that when a fly infiltrates your space and you decide to help it into the next life you do so using what is called a S.W.O.T. analysis? I know that sounds weird and way too academic, but it is true. Sometimes we do things without even realizing it. Allow me to explain.

In business, a S.W.O.T. analysis is used by organizations to assess internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats to those opportunities. For example, in the 1980’s, Tylenol faced a public outcry when contaminated Tylenol killed some consumers. Tylenol leadership had to do a S.W.O.T. analysis to stop the PR hemorrhaging that threatened to sink the company.

Clearly, there were internal weaknesses, namely, botched safety protocols and/or execution of such protocols to keep the ingredients accurate and safe in content. Yet, there were internal strengths, chief of which, was transparency to the public immediately when they became aware of this awful predicament and realized the delicate yet life-saving announcement that had to be shared with the public immediately to prevent future deaths. It worked. The public trust grew in the company and product, and it remains a top-seller to this day.

As a PRS, we can use the S.W.O.T analysis model as a launching point in our supportive work with other peers. Of course, care must be taken as we are not experts on someone else’s life. However, we all have blind spots, and it often takes a kind and insightful outsider to help us consider looking at some of those areas that we can choose to improve and heal. Helping another peer assess their own internal strengths and weaknesses (I use that word very lightly) and helping them to recognize external opportunities and potential threats to those opportunities can be an invaluable foundation of support to help them launch themselves into a brand-new life. While fly-swatting is satisfying, problem swotting is even more so.

Speaking of which…sorry…I must run…FLY! The S.W.O.T. worked. Fly = 0, Me = 1

~ Chris Newcomb, Pro Fly S.W.O.T.-er



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