The personal SWOT analysis and the willingness to be vulnerable

by MPA03 Jun 2016

In my consulting practice, I spend a great deal of time working with executives in the mortgage industry on how they can become better leaders for their organizations. Of course, anyone who has been to business school has heard of the SWOT analysis -- an exercise in which we look at our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and then develop our strategy accordingly. And many of the leaders I meet with use this tool for their organizations.

One of my first recommendations to leaders, though, is to take that tried-and-true tool that they use so readily for their companies and turn it inward on themselves. Leaders in the mortgage industry should be willing to consider their own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats -- not just those of their companies. Now, typically, most leaders have no qualms about considering their strengths -- and even their opportunities and threats. It's often the 'weaknesses' that give them pause.

There's no doubt that opening ourselves up to our own weaknesses is a scary thing. We've been taught that we're supposed to be strong and confident, that we shouldn't show any kinks in our armor. But the truth is that we're all human, and the willingness to be vulnerable has far greater benefits than denial. First, by exposing our weaknesses, we can work on improving them and/or working around them. And secondly, our people will appreciate our willingness to admit that we're human after all and that we have the humility to recognize it. Vulnerability is scary but, in the end, it's worth it.


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