How to create self awareness

Increasing one’s self awareness is the first step in creating change. Are there opportunities where you can expand your awareness and impact?

Know what you are looking for, and train your eyes.

Secret Service agents can scan a crowd to recognise risks. Managers can do something similar by asking questions like “What if our strategy is wrong? How would we know?” What do I need to focus on right now? Simply asking the questions will force you to pay attention to areas you’re typically unaware of.

Develop (or pay for) an outsider’s perspective.

Ask this person or group to tell you things you don’t see from your vantage point. Even if you know you can’t implement radical recommendations, having more data at hand is critical.

SEEK Information

Challenge the absence of disconfirming evidence.

Receiving recommendations without contradictory data is a red flag indicating that your team members are falling prey to bounded awareness. Assign someone to play the role of devil’s inquisitor (a person who asks questions, as opposed to a devil’s advocate, who argues an alternate point of view).

Under search in most contexts, but over search in important contexts.

Think about the implications of an error; if it would be extremely difficult to recover from, then over searching is a wise strategy.

USE Information

Unpack the situation.

Make sure you’re not over emphasizing one focal event and discounting other relevant information. By consciously thinking about the full context of your situation, you’re less likely to disregard important data.

Assume that the information you need exists in your organisation.

It often does, and if you approach it with that mind-set, you’re more likely to discover it.

SHARE Information

Everyone has unique information; ask for it explicitly.

In meetings and in casual conversation ask for feedback, “What do you think we could do to make the nursery more pleasant?” Then share new and interesting information with your team

Create structures that make information sharing the default.

Consider making one individual responsible for assembling information from many sources.

Extract from Harvard Business Review Jan 2006 – Revised by Jan Terkelsen 2011

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