The further I go on my consulting journey, the more I notice a common theme that keeps sticking out.  It isn’t new to me. Yet as time goes on, this theme consistently gains weight and meaning. Weight and meaning that informs my thinking, and my approach as to the best way to establish and maintain a high performing organisation culture and people function.
What is it? — self-awareness.

When I observe organisational effectiveness in action, it is self-awareness that keeps emerging as a non-negotiable factor. Whether it be a high performing team or an underperforming one, what they have in common is centred around self-awareness—either they have it, or there’s a lack of it (or the self-awareness is there... but at a very low level).

At the very core of business performance lies individual and collective self-awareness. It's not just a factor; I believe it is the indispensable essence shaping every aspect of performance!

Here’s why I think so:

Cultural Dynamics

Building a robust and healthy company culture necessitates individuals being attuned to how they interact with others. This awareness becomes the foundation for a collaborative and positive workplace environment.

Fostering Development

Any development efforts made in an organisation will hit a roadblock, if they go forth without an initial understanding of where individuals stand. Self-awareness acts as the compass guiding us to the starting point of meaningful growth.

Performance Catalyst

It is easy to get stuck in a cycle of self-limiting behaviors. A common example is the belief that everything needs to be done ‘perfectly’ (A lot of people suffer from perfectionism!).  This can lead to the self-limiting behaviour of behaving in an overly risk-averse way at work. It's a hurdle to personal progress and high performance. The antidote to this is true self-awareness, as it provides the clarity needed for individuals to unleash their potential. This isn’t easy, in-fact, more often than not it is very confronting. You need bucket loads of courage and self-compassion to own you’re not perfect (nor should you be), that you will need your ‘sharp’ edges rubbed off in order to grow, and also to see that this is possible.

Retaining Talent

Retention challenges in a workplace often stem from interpersonal conflict and ‘difficult’ managers, which in turn, may result from a lack of awareness among team members and leaders about the impact their actions and behaviours have on others. Without this insight, retaining valuable talent becomes an uphill battle.

Recruitment Insight

Successful recruitment extends beyond a simple skills match; it's about finding the right fit for the team dynamic. Comprehensive self-awareness is the precursor to understanding who we are individually and collectively, and then consequently, who aligns with our team.

How does an organisation cultivate individual and collective self-awareness?

The Johari Window is a fantastic framework that helps us to understand ourselves in a deeper way. It highlights that we all possess blind spots, and that illuminating these blind spots requires a culture of psychological safety and a consistent feedback loop. (If you'd like to know more about how to use the Johari window—give me a call)

How to build a strong foundation of self-awareness.

It is as simple as feedback—which is definitely easier said than done!

At The People Place, we reckon there are four key steps to consider when giving feedback - you can find out more about these steps here. Cultivating an environment where feedback is not only welcomed, but encouraged, fortifies our collective growth. This should be a constant goal at the top of the priority list for any leadership team or board.

What do you think about the value of self-awareness? Can you see the role it plays in your workplace?  As always we value your thoughts and feedback—feel free to get in touch at