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Self Awareness Essential to Success

“There is one quality that trumps all, evident in virtually every great entrepreneur, manager, and leader. That quality is self-awareness. The best thing leaders can do to improve their effectiveness is to become more aware of what motivates them and their decision-making.  Without self-awareness, you cannot understand your strengths and weakness, your “super powers” versus your “kryptonite.”   Anthony Tjan- CEO/Founder & Managing Partner, Cue Ball

This quote and this message resonates strongly and reflects the very core of both my beliefs and my experiences having worked with thousands of leaders across many industries.   I have seen first hand leaders who are extremely talented, brilliant and technically capable, be promoted to the level of their incompetence due to the inability to self reflect and be open to self assessing and feedback.  While on the other hand I’ve seen leaders who may not be the most technically capable but recognize and embrace self growth, humility and self reflection as essential elements to both their own and their team’s success.  It is the latter who bring the greatest value to any organization and are able to build thriving businesses where the people around them are dedicated and engaged.  It has been said, and well founded, that people join organizations and leave bosses.

Self awareness begins with self assessment, then self reflection along with the willingness to learn and know others gifts, strengths and weaknesses.   It is through this process of openness, honesty and humility that trust develops, clarity unfolds and productive relationships are built.  Awareness of self and others motivations and understanding of behaviors and their impact on results is a key element but only half the equation.   Being willing to engage in dialogue and authentically share, learn and shift as necessary is the other half.

So I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions:

Do you know your greatest strengths and most productive behaviors?

Do you know your greatest weaknesses and most overused behaviors?

Do you know what drives you, is important to you and why you do what you do?

Do you spend time reflecting on what worked and what didn’t regarding outcomes? And the role you played in it?

Do you seek feedback as a way of understanding who you really are?

Do you know the talents, strengths and motivations of those whom you work with?

Do you engage in discussions that explore the why and what you do and why others do what they do?

Do you openly share your weaknesses and learn from others?

The 3 P factor: People, Practice, Performance

It is said time and time again in many organizations, “people are our greatest asset and our people are what matter”.   While I truly believe that leaders and executives have all the best intentions behind these statements, the reality is actions may at times leave the people (the very ones claimed to be so invaluable) disengaged, confused, and frustrated.

My experience inside many highly successful, highly respected and well intended organizations has led me to observe some interesting factors as to what contributes to or detracts from an organizations greatest asset being engaged, self- motivated and self-accountable and what allows for some  to build successful cultures and teams while others struggle.

Organizations, no matter how advanced it’s technologies, processes, products and services, have one thing in common… people.   People are varied, diverse, unique and at times unpredictable.   Each of us has our own special blueprint (very much like each of our own fingerprints… not one of us  is alike).   At the same time each of us want to feel respected, valued, and connected to a purpose and to others.  In other words, we want to matter, but what drives one person towards action may differ from another, what leads to engaging someone may be the very thing that disengages another.

The dilemma, as I have seen it, is well intended organizations want to tap into the unique individuals while at the same time have a common approach, focus and goals.  All while needing to make a profit and/or produce some service or product in an increasingly fast paced environment.

Unlike sports organizations where most of the time and energy is spent practicing for “game time”, most other places it is game time all the time with little time for practice (developing, growing and learning).  However, it seems, those organizations that take the time to know and develop their talent, who take the time to communicate effectively and assure people fully understand the why and what and how they fit, who invest in the relationships between one another and allow for understanding motivations and leveraging all of the abilities, styles and behaviors in a manner that supports the common mission and goals, are the ones who thrive.

So the question is…. how much time are you giving to practice?