Saturday, April 13, 2013

Organizational Self-Awareness: The beginning of change.

Personal Self-Awareness

Throughout life, we often get external cues to force change:
  1. Medical news brings us an awareness of a need to change our health habits.
  2. Traffic tickets inform us we need to change our driving habits.
  3. Family stress brings us an awareness of a need to change the amount of time we spend with others.
  4. A bad performance review brings about awareness of a need to do things differently in the workplace.

External cues are helpful, but rarely bring about lasting change.  In psychology, the beginning of individual and personal change is self-awareness, the challenging, difficult and sometimes painful process of learning things we need to know to gain a fresh start.
  1. Psychological self-awareness brings about a clear understanding of blind spots and areas for improvement.
  2. Psychological self-awareness is the starting point for change.  It often involves discovery of previously unknown issues.
  3. Psychological self-awareness jolts us out of lethargy and causes us to do things differently.
Sometimes it has been called "soul-searching".

Organizational Self-Awareness

Most often, organizations get these external cues that force them to do course correction. 

  1. Downturn in the stock market.
  2. Competitive threats.
  3. Revenue gains without commensurate profitability gains.
  4. High turnover.
  5. High Voluntary Absenteeism.
  6. Poor Safety Records.
  7. Litigation.
I offer that those external observations are effects, not causes.  They are after-the-fact data, not the driving force inside the organization.

How can an organization develop self-awareness?

Organizations are not people - - - but they are made up of people who have a sense of how an organization is performing.

Classic water cooler conversations regarding an organization’s ability to weather storms  reflect employee perceptions of the collective power of their organizations to manage in the face of struggle. In short, employees have an awareness of their organization’s collective ability to produce financial outcomes and persevere in difficult business climates. 

The key to gaining organizational self-awareness is to provide people with an opportunity to turn their gaze to overall organizational capability. 

At ProAxios, we call that a sense of Organizational Efficacy. 

Organizational Insight

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