Sun, 08/28/2016 - 15:47

Most people don't understand themselves particularly well.  This we believe without reservation.  So why do we say this???


Peter Drucker made the point emphatically late in his career and life and many others have concurred.  I've had the experience of debriefing a couple hundred CEO's using an assessment tool that profiles one on over 100 traits.   Over and over again, I saw, even experienced successful leaders, who clearly didn't "know themselves".  Indicators of that are the following typical quotes you hear

Fri, 03/11/2016 - 12:24

When you want to improve your ability to select the right people for the job, or manage them more effectively, or develop them optimally, you need to realize that decision support tools have drastically improved in the last few years.    Choosing the right employees and managing them effectively involves ongoing decisions that need to be supported with critical information.  The validated information that is now available inexpensively is a really a game changer  (in the game of management).


Thu, 01/21/2016 - 09:55

The Problems with Most Organizational Planning Processes


Many organizations waste large sums of time and money because they do not  have all their key people on board with where they are heading.  Many think they do because they have communicated some specific financial or growth goals but there is little understanding of the why and the how.  As a result, execution is typically poor.


Thu, 10/29/2015 - 14:11

... Where Understanding is Key


From ancient philosophers like Socrates to management gurus like Peter Drucker, the point has been made emphatically that self-awareness is key to personal effectiveness if not to success itself.  Without it, some say it is impossible to improve. But more certainly, without it, one can say that it is impossible to fully control or understand the impact of your actions and decisions and to be effectively situational.

One way to help understand this is concept that has been around for decades, the Johari Window.  It is essentially a matrix that matches your degree of self-knowledge to the degree of others' knowledge about you.  It's a good model to discuss the implications of blind spots and some of the value for addressing these.

Tue, 07/14/2015 - 12:03

If you ask a business executive, can you manage something without understanding it? Most will say, "no" or "not effectively" and many (having done this a number of times) will cite the aphorism, "you can't manage what you can't measure." Of course, understanding a situation and having metrics on it quite often do not always equate. Typically metrics are a necessary but not really sufficient part of understanding. Understanding comes from inter-relating and processing the metrics in a meaningful way- thought, discussion, etc… are usually involved.

Of course, there's another saying, "paralysis by analysis" which is a common affliction but I think if you look at these situations, most of the time, this occurs when there are metrics but those metrics are nebulous, incomplete and even unreliable. There is also a small but significant percentage of the population who, due to risk averse behavior, decision style, personality type…, do this no matter what but we're going to ignore this mental condition for this argument. 

So let's consider a key decision like who to hire for a specific position. What is the cost of Understanding so that you can pick the best, most suitable person?

You have the cost of checking or research including reading resumes, doing a background check, processing assessment results, interviewing...

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 12:13

By Michelle Serra



There are many trade-offs that need to be managed to be an effective influencer and leader.  For managers, one of the most important is the paradoxical tradeoff between providing direction and achieving understanding (and planning).


Think about it!   If you have an overly strong orientation toward giving direction and a weak one toward planning and achieving understanding,  we'd expect that you're going to get ahead of yourself, giving more direction than you 've "planned for"  resulting in mistakes and over time, a loss of respect.   On the other hand, having a strong planning orientation and a need to have a near complete understanding  and a lesser tendency to provide direction could potentially lead to paralysis by analysis  and a lot of effort that is doesn't lead to any action.


Thu, 11/13/2014 - 23:13

Most of us will agree that understanding each other is important, but many can't really describe what you need to understand.  Many will cite relationship styles, decision making styles, leadership styles and communication tendencies as key issues.  In fact there are quite a number of additional issues that can cause conflict and misunderstanding if not accurately understood. In fact, the worst scenarios occur when people think they understand and they don't (incorrect assumptions).


Tempo is an attribute that relates to a need  or tendency for(or lack of a need) for speed and activity. Likewise, it is related to multitasking and a tendency, if strong here, to "have to have" many things going on at once to feel right about things.   If you are a high tempo person ,  you will have a tendency to love activity and typically  a need to have a lot of balls in the air simultaneously. If your tendency is low, you will tend to be methodical,  tending to focus on one thing at a time.  It doesn't necessarily relate to your energy level but may relate to the perception of others of your energy level.

Sat, 07/12/2014 - 17:08

When you make major decisions, like choosing a major business goal and strategy,  selecting a new employee, starting a business or even buying a house, you typically need to process a lot of information to make the judgment in an effective way.   We all know people who take it too far and are often paralyzed by analysis and can't make key decisions. On the other hand, many American business leaders are criticized, and often rightly so, for making major decision without enough preparation, without sufficient understanding.

When it comes to hiring and major decisions in management, the cost in time and money to understanding has been dramatically reduced.

Sat, 07/12/2014 - 16:35

By accessing this specific research or running a study on a job you are hiring for, to fine tune the specifications, the level of understanding is increased greatly.  The end result is a single number, based on research that constitutes a probability of success in that job (success = high performance).  Selection decisions can be made MUCH more accurately.   Just in the last couple years, leading companies such as  MasterCard, Travelers, Qualcomm and hundreds of others have begun adopting this approach to select their people. Click here for more information on JSF'sJust as important, as nobody is perfect, is that it shows where the person's strengths are and where  the weaknesses are.  This provides a powerful tool for the person and their manager to work on what is most likely to increase performance on the job.  This allows them to focus more on using their strengths to the benefit of the company and to focus on developing skills and awareness in areas where they may be relatively weak.  Click on the image above for a summary discussion on JSF's.