Friday, May 20, 2016

the power of awareness

This past week I began my end-of-year reviews with my executive team, a routine that is a best practice in organizations and gives the opportunity for my team and I to be on the same page.  We used a form that focused on position responsibilities, leadership competencies, and goals for the year. My biggest "AHA" during the process was how much we were on the same page with each other. The comments they wrote ahead of time regarding their personal performance were almost always identical to the comments I had written about their personal performance.  This told me several things:

  1. Expectations had been very clear from the beginning as to what was expected
  2. There had been consistent dialogue going on throughout the year around these issues
  3. I had chosen people to work with whom I trusted and who saw the world through a similar lens as myself
As I thought about why AWARENESS was important, it struck me that both self-awareness and other-awareness were critical aspects of leadership.  Both of these types of awareness include knowing what to look for, to actually look for what one is looking for, and to monitor what one is seeing as they look for what they are looking for (and if you were able to follow that logic, you are an incredibly aware person).  What might this look like in day-to-day leadership?  Here are a few thoughts:
  • Know what you want, for self and others
  • Check that what you want is actually good for yourself, others, or the organization.  This demands that leaders read, talk with others, and take the time to ask good questions
  • Be as explicit as possible and as open-ended as possible.  The explicitness is actually a result of the open-endedness...and comes about as a result of multiple conversations (with self and others) around the attitudes and behaviors expected
  • Don't become too focused on specific actions (unless they are violating values and principles).  Be outcomes what was expected getting done or not?
  • Do a regular check-in as to how the outcomes are being met.  This includes asking others about what they might see and feel (again, about one's self and others)
  • Be willing to accept failure (again, both in one's self and others).  Being aware of self and others does not mean being means getting better
  • Do a detailed end-of-year review (often known among the world as New Year's Resolutions).  What was expected, how did we do, and what do we want to do differently in the next cycle?
  • Celebrate where expectations and goals have been met (again, for self and others).  Take the time to realize how amazing the past year was and what all was accomplished.
  • Don't wait too long to set new goals and begin the regular reviewing process.  Self-awareness and other awareness is an ongoing process.
Enjoy the review and development process...both for yourself and others.  It is a process that benefits the leader, those who work with her, and the organization as a whole.

1 comment:

LearnerJim said...

Great blog Don. People who do not believe in development reviews annually are not willing to do the work all year to make them what you describe.