Performance Management / HR

Self-awareness: The key to executive success


In a highly-competitive and sometimes overwhelming global business world, self-knowledge and self-awareness are the absolute key to success – and here’s why: those who are honest with and know themselves through and through, won’t ever be disingenuous or false with another. False appearances and dishonesty in one’s business approach are perhaps the number-one turnoff for those seeking to “make the deal happen.” People – especially when dealing in big transactions and with a lot of personnel and logistics – want to see honesty, integrity, and a direct, realistic approach and attitude. This only comes with those who truly know themselves, how they function, what makes them tick, and what motivates their behaviors, drives and desires. The ancient Greek aphorism, “know thyself” came from the Delphic oracle, and was given (and revered and followed) for good reason. One of the great secrets of the ages is to know what and who you are, so that you can master, as the philosophers later surmised, both being and becoming.

Self knowledge is key to growth

Tying in with this concept is the notion of how we grow and evolve. Those who cannot learn from their mistakes, and subsequently gain wisdom and evolve, are doomed to repeat past mistakes, and tend not to be successful people. “You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness,” said Zig Ziglar, a well-known, successful businessman and motivational speaker. In this quote we can find support for the aforementioned statements. It is all within you. This sounds like some overused cliché which we as a society have become deaf to, but – it really is true. Finding yourself —  knowing what you are, learning from past failures or mistakes, perseverance, and fostering yourself and others with the innate understanding that all the abundance of wealth and seeds of success are stored within each and every one of us, like seeds in a winter garden waiting for spring to grow — this is the key.

We have to have goals in life – all highly-successful people understand this. That’s really half of this “success diagram” – planting the seeds, setting out the goals, and then having the other half – the fortitude to achieve them. And in order to have that fortitude one must have self-knowledge. But, is there true self-knowledge vs. false? Perhaps, but that’s part of the self-awareness – being able to see right through the illusions we can sometimes fool ourselves with to make our lives easier. Certainly, it is not an easy thing to attain self-awareness, self-knowledge, or self-mastery. It took some yogis many years to achieve the self-mastery, but for those of us not sitting cross-legged in a cave in India, we can still attain a level of self-awareness which allows us to truly flower, and be what we are. Those who do this give off an irresistible light and energy which feeds and inspires others to also be genuine with themselves and others. And this is good business!

Learn from mistakes

So, how do we go about attaining self-awareness in a chaotic world that throws distractions and obstacles at us at every step of the way? Well, learn from those obstacles – what are they, what can they teach us – and learn to be grateful for these obstacles and mistakes that might “throw us off of our game.” For these things are just as important to our growth and success as are the outright successes, because they give us insight into who we are and even how we are, and it is in these things that we truly find success.

I invite you to view my webinar (top of page) for an in-depth discussion on self-awareness. You’ll see how an assessment system can help you better understand yourself and your behaviors. Self-awareness is critical to helping you coach yourself and also provides an exceptional opportunity to open the door to greater self-awareness and improved communications with those you manage and your peers.

Category: Performance Management / HR

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About the Author: Mike Zani

Based in the Greater Boston area, Predictive Index CEO Mike Zani provides overall strategic direction for the organization with emphasis on global growth and product development to drive outstanding client results. Prior to The Predictive In…

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