4 Tips for Increasing Self-Awareness

Minneapolis area consultant John Persico recently published a lengthy but interesting essay on what it takes for an organization to really be effective. In essence, Persico says, organizations must become more self-aware. Especially about their own built-in blind spots. He says:

"...most organizations are blind to the intrinsic problems that underlie their failures."

He uses the example of the Titanic, the greatest ship ever made, unsinkable. Little did anyone think that a deadly iceberg lay ahead.

What is an organization to do? Persico offers seven good ideas, including listen to your dissenters. I'd call that one "embrace your difficult people."

Here are four more tips that I would add:

Get feedback from others - The Scottish poet Robert Burns once pointed to the value of finding out how others perceive us when he wrote "O, wad some Power the giftie gie us/To see oursels as others see us!/It wad frae monie a blunder free us,/An' foolish notion." The gift he refers to we now call feedback. Honest, clear feedback from a trusted source can help free us "from blunders and foolish notions" of our own creation.

Ponder JOHARI - Persico uses the classic JOHARI Window in his article to help explain the different domains of information that exist about ourselves. One of the great things about the JOHARI concept is how it opens our minds to the awareness that others know things about us that we do not know (the "blind spot") and that there is information about us that neither we nor others know (the "unknown" area). The process of increasing self-awareness includes pondering what lies in these panes.

Take a trip to another country - Have you ever experienced the thrilling discomfort that comes from taking a trip to another country? Especially one where you don't speak the language. Somehow or other, you have to confront the challenge to get by and survive. In the process of overcoming this adversity, you realize a great deal about Who You Are, and what you are capable of when pushed way out of your comfort zone. Travel is a great teacher of humility.

Increasing mindfulness - The Zen practice of mindfulness cultivates a tranquil attentiveness to the constant traffic flow of thoughts going on within us. The more we practice this mindfulness, the more we can step back a bit and establish a degree of objectivity toward ourselves. We can start to notice, for example, the triggers that set us off in some of our relationships. Or the value judgments we make about others. Or about ourselves.

These tips, along with Persico's, are intended to help You and the members of your organization to avoid disasters by becoming more self-aware. In so doing, you may be better equipped to spot the icebergs in the waters ahead.

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Wednesday June 15, 2011. For more ideas on increasing self-awareness and organizational effectiveness, contact Terry and invite him to speak to your group. Terry Seamon is a Learning & Organization Development consultant with Facilitation Solutions, a training and organization effectiveness practice based in New Jersey. He has designed and delivered training for his clients on leadership, coaching, engagement, managing, communication, customer service, conflict, stress, teamwork, and change, and has written extensively on these and many other topics. Invite Terry to your organization to speak with your teams. Call today and discover how Terry can help you achieve your goals: 732-246-3014.

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