Self Awareness

The Key to Diversity of Thought

We are all getting a pretty good idea of how diversity of workforce is critical to creating diversity of thought, which results in more advanced organisations. But did you know that Self Awareness in employees has a direct impact on the rate of return (ROR) of their organisation? Put simply, the more self aware leaders and team members are in an organisation, the greater their performance and therefore profitably of the company.

Korn Ferry analysts, David Zes and Dana Landis, made a critical link in their study between the self awareness of 6,977 professionals and the public companies they were employed at. This was to determine if there was a link between self awareness and organisational financial performance. Self Awareness was measured by the comparison on their self report of their performance and peer ratings on them. What they found was:

  • For poor performing companies, employees were 79% more likely to have low self awareness than those companies with a strong ROR (Zez and Landis 2013)

  • Poor performing company employees involved in the study had 20% more blind spots

Diversity of Thought is the ability for people to create as many possible solutions to problems before settling on the best one. Within organisations, this is the opportunity to collaborate through inclusion to make better decisions, come up with innovative and profitable ideas, and create market place value collectively. For this to occur, leaders and team members need to expand their thinking beyond themselves, address blind spots that may hinder their own diversity of thought and develop an openness and curiosity to thinking beyond their current ability. Addressing self awareness in the workplace is therefore a critical piece in developing inclusion and diversity of thought.

This includes:

  • Helping people to have what Tasha Eurich (in her book 'Insight') calls internal and external self awareness - a balance of introspection and the eliciting and careful consideration of feedback from our external worlds

  • Helping people to understand and move beyond bias - both cognitive and social

  • Helping leaders develop skills of facilitating valuable insights, ideas and solutions, as well as creating a socially safe environment for this to happen

When we look at building diversity of thought in organisations through first developing self awareness, we are essentially developing culturally and financially strong businesses, with a collective mindset to stay relevant in times to come.


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