How well do you know YOU?

We’ve all heard the old adage in business, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. This is often very true, as networking is key and decision makers (be it a potential client, a potential supplier, a potential employer) often prefer to deal with who they already know. Before we spend any time on the topic of networking though, it is imperative to start at home.

In the mirror.

With you.

Self-awareness is key

Do you really know your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Do you know what your greatest people skills are? Have you ever thought about what your most consistent contribution to your business or a team dynamic might be? If you are truly committed to personal and professional growth, and you have the guts – wouldn’t you like to know what your ‘blind spots’ are? Do you wish you knew what people wanted to see more or less of from you?

Whether you are an employee looking to create more opportunity for yourself, a leader looking to climb the corporate ranks and join the C-suite, a manager looking to drive employee engagement and buy-in, or a sales professional seeking to ‘show up’ as your best and most likeable self- the link is clear. High levels of self-awareness correlate to high levels of performance and effectiveness in groups and with others. Even if you run your own business as a ‘solopreneur’, higher levels of self-awareness can lead you to focus on your strengths, and outsource your weaknesses to consultants or through a virtual assistant approach.

So the million dollar question becomes – “how do I gain such insights?”

The short, bad news, hard-to-sell answer is years of personal and professional development, reflection, exercises, conversations, mistakes, courses, and experience (both good and bad).

The good news is we can shorten that time dramatically and reduce the associated pain through a powerful tool known as the 360 degree leadership peer review. On average at InSite we take 1 leader a month through this process, and the results never cease to impress – if not amaze. When well designed and executed, the tool has the power to uncover:

  • Your leadership ‘brand’ – what it is those led by your experience through your leadership
  • Your greatest professional contribution assets; and from there – what sorts of jobs or environments you are most likely to thrive in
  • How others perceive your values
  • What others want to see more and less of from you
  • What you need to improve on if you want to see better results
  • What you are really good – if not great at, and how this could be the key to an amazing career path

The tool provides three areas of information:

  • Values your peers would like to see you exhibit more often
  • Trends from above
  • Leadership Style

The correlation between your style and your values is obvious, and should be – because your values dictate your behaviour and your behaviour shows the world your style, values, and natural skills. The good news here is that you, by way of inferring your behaviour, are acting consistently in concert with your values

Although this report takes a lot of back end work to generate, and a skilled & experienced coach to debrief, it’s remarkably simple to understand – and all users have a vested interest in the content, because it’s about you! How well do you know YOU?

Even if your business is a microbusiness in the startup phase with no budget, you could derive some of the benefits a 360 review provides with these scaled down techniques;

  • Ask your closest friends, colleagues, former employers or employees, mentors, and others who would have relevant input what they view as your top 5 strengths and top 3 areas for improvement
  • Send an email to your inner cohort once a year asking them for their views on what your greatest strengths are, and what you can do better or differently to see better results.
  • Ask the customers who are the hardest to deal with to go for coffee or lunch, and ask them what they think you can do better. Make sure if you use this technique to trend at least 4 or 5 customer interviews, rather than overreact on any one comment (these customers have strong opinions, don’t forget, and it’s generally a bad idea to pivot your entire business based on one comment).

Regardless of the approach you take – the extremely competitive world we live in demands the best of us.

To improve your impact, evolve your business, decrease stress, and get better results – make feedback a regular part of your personal development and success routine. Get busy getting better! How well do you know YOU? Can you answer this? With this one technique you will go some way in doing so.

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By Stan Peake
Business and Performance Coach at InSitePerformanceCoaching.com


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