Have yourself a merry Christmas…
is my favourite christmas song, as soon as I hear it whether it is in a store or in my car I instantly feel ready for christmas. Everything leading to christmas is wonderful, from the winding down at work, to drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and visiting the christmas markets.
However, christmas also brings the worst out of me; the mad panic to get the last minute presents, making sure we have the right food in and most importantly having the decorations up. Talking to friends I know that I am not alone in this panic.
So, I decided at the start of 2017, this year was going to be different as, I was going to be prepped for christmas. I made the decision I was going to take a strategic approach to christmas and the outcome for me was to have a successful, relaxed and calm christmas.
So, to do I needed to access one of the BA tools that I would use for strategic analysis in work. The best, tool to make sure that I was going to get the christmas I wanted was Strength Weakness Opportunities and Threats analysis or commonly know as SWOT. I use SWOT all the time both in work and personal life- it is one of those tools that is incredibly versatile. With SWOT you put everything in one document, so you get that holistic view that allows you to get perspective on things and decide how you want to tackle the threats and weaknesses.
There are only 4 things that make up a SWOT, when going through this tool you need to ask certain questions:
Strengths: what are you strong points, what will help you get the christmas that you want
Weaknesses: what are you weaknesses that will stop you having the christmas that you want
Opportunities: what opportunities are open to you, look externally around you i.e. family, work and businesses
Threats: what are the things that are going to threaten the christmas that you want
In November, day after bonfire night armed with my laptop and a cup of hot chocolate, I sat down to create my SWOT. You can see my high-level SWOT in the image below.
My greatest strength is being organised, so I was determined to use this fully to my advantage. The first thing I did after writing the SWOT was create a list of the people that I needed to get present for, what they liked and how much money I was prepared to spend on them. By doing, I was able to then start picking off the list and not get any last minute presents. I also, created a list of what I wanted to cook for christmas and then the items that I needed to do this.
My biggest weakness is getting distracted by other things when I am in a shop. For example, last year I went out to get some tinsel and ended up spending obscene amount of money on presents that I thought people might like. So, this year to avoid this, I started creating list of what I needed just before I went out. Once, I got the item I would tick it off my list. This is a good way to make sure that I do not deviate from my list and spend money that I don’t need too.
When writing the SWOT I spotted two great opportunities for me; black Friday and slot booking with the supermarket. As, I had my list when black Friday arrived, I knew what I was getting and was able to get the present at a slightly reduced price. This was win for me as I had more money to spend on going out.
My biggest threat for christmas 2017, is getting home to see my family. As, someone whom travels daily on trains in the UK, I know how unreliable they are. To make sure i am prepped for this threat I have booked a seat on the 23rd of December but I have also made sure that it is an open ticket, in case there is any problems.
So, this year just before December create a SWOT analysis for the Christmas that you want. Once, you have done that, develop strategies to how you are going to handle your weaknesses and potential threats. Also, don’t forget about your strengths and opportunities that are open to you. Don’t worry about making it perfect- it’s not meant to be
Also SWOT is not just for Christmas, next time you are thinking about where you want to go on holiday create a quick SWOT to decide the holiday.