S[o]WOT next?

S[o]WOT next?

Outstanding Mentor? Check! SMART goals? Check! Now what? Now that you have defined your end goal and both measurable and attainable benchmarks to achieve, you should recognize the talents and skills you possess that will enable you to reach your goal.  Whether you’re an academic post-doc looking to transition to industry, seeking a promotion within your company, or embarking on your first entrepreneurial venture, acknowledging your talents and skills, and the opportunities for professional and personal growth and development will be critical for your success.

How do you obtain this knowledge and initiate this self-analysis? Self-examination and self-awareness are considerable feats, so one tool that de la Femme Mentor Robin Hamilton, founder and principal of Boston Business Operations Group, presented is the SWOT Analysis.


SWOT Analysis

The SWOT Analysis is a tool that businesses use to create strategy, but it can also be used to as a personal tool to help you recognize personal and professional strengths, as well as opportunities for growth and development.  Personal SWOT analysis involves identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  Mind Tools provides a useful worksheet and examples of questions you can ask yourself to help you get started.  Since this is a personal analysis, try to complete this independently first then seek outside perspectives from your mentor or other members of your community, such as fellow mentees in your mentoring circle.

Identifying your Strengths

Be honest and don’t let your modesty inhibit you.  Celebrate all you’ve achieved, recognize your unique contributions, and find out what differentiates you from your peers.  Look to the community that supports you for further objective perspectives.

Eliminating the negative effect of weaknesses on your work and development

Again, be honest and think of areas for improvement.  What improvements can be made to build confidence? What negative habits can you eliminate to improve your work situation? Again, look to the community that supports you because they could provide incisive insights into potential weaknesses that can be addressed and eliminated.

Opportunities for growth, learning, or advancement

Look within your current company or at your target industry for opportunities.  What new skills or knowledge can you acquire to help you advance? Are there opportunities for you to fill gaps or provide solutions to current needs in your company or target industry? How can you tailor and use your strengths and skills to create opportunities? What kinds of opportunities will become available when you eliminate one of your weaknesses? Perhaps your current network can provide critical resources to aid your development or advancement towards your goal.

Threats as obstacles to overcome

What stands between you and your goal? Do you have competition for a promotion or position at work? Are your weaknesses posing a threat to your growth or advancement? Is your knowledge base becoming outdated? Thinking creatively and perhaps collaboratively can help you find solutions that propel you up and over these obstacles.


Discuss your SWOT Analysis with your Mentor

Again, your mentor has the “relevance” and “gap” to help you succeed (see first blog post) and thrive, so have the candid discussion about the results of your SWOT analysis as a way to optimize your strategies for achieving your SMART goals.  He or she will undoubtedly proffer invaluable insights, such as strengths, traits, or unique aptitudes you didn’t know you possessed that are desirable and necessary for the goal you are trying to achieve.  Be honest throughout this process; all information, even weaknesses and threats, gathered from this analysis will help you realize your potential, areas for growth and learning, and desirable opportunities that can be seized!


Meet our Entrepreneurial Mentors this Thursday!


Come join de la Femme at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) this Thursday, February 26. Manijeh Goldberg, one of our mentors, will be presenting at the Founding a Startup as a Woman: Overcoming Challenges Panel discussion.  Here’s the link for more information:

We will also have a Resource Table staffed by our Executive Team member Susu Wong and Mentor Robin Hamilton. We hope that you can join us!



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Building a Successful Mentor-Mentee Relationship

de la Femme ended 2014 with the successful launch of our new mentoring program. We have an excellent panel of experienced professionals who are eager to mentor and enthusiastic mentees, excited to learn and further their professional development. Now that each mentee has a mentor, we’ll be publishing a series of blogs about how to build and foster a successful mentor-mentee relationship. We’ll start the series by discussing how one can approach their mentor and establish a solid foundation for a successful mentor-mentee relationship.

Groundwork: The Mentoring Relationship Equation

Mentoring Relationship Equation

In Get the Mentoring Equation Right by Whitney Johnson of HBR, she presented Bob Moesta’s “Mentoring Relationship Equation.” This equation illustrates several key points. The motivation, or “Drive,” of the mentee to attain her goals must be great. The mentor has the experience or knowledge the mentee lacks (“Gap”) and wants to provide the “Effort” (work necessary to provide the mentee with the “Relevance,” which is the necessary experience and knowledge), but the mentee has to be self-motivated to attain her goals and aware of the work necessary to achieve her goals (“Distance”). As a mentor, a large “Gap” relative to your mentee, “Relevance” to her skillset, and the “Effort” to invest in your mentee and her development are critical to a positive mentoring experience.

Get the ball rolling SMARTly

One great way to start building productive communication and collaborative efforts is for the mentee and mentor to establish SMART goals (Lois J. Zachary and Lory A. Fischler). SMART goals are “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timely” and aim to accomplish key objectives (quoted here):
• Accelerate and enhance the professional or personal development of the mentee
• Represent a challenge or stretch for the mentee
• Seek a quantitative or qualitative improvement that can be demonstrated or measured
• Focus on the future development of the mentee

As a mentee, if you don’t have clear, well-defined goals in mind, or just don’t know where to start, Zachary and Fischler suggest this: “Begin with the end in mind.” If you have “starter goals,” which are defined as goals that are “not fully developed” of “not mutually agreed upon” by both the mentor and mentee, the mentee and mentor can prioritize goal setting and work together to refine and clarify the starter goals to become SMART goals. If well defined, SMART goals have been communicated and mutually established, fantastic! Continue the momentum and keep working towards attainment of your SMART goals!

We took great care to create suitable mentor-mentee pairs and are excited to learn about the successes of your relationship! January is National Mentoring Month, so be sure to thank your Mentor for all of their support and guidance!

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