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Tag Archives: awareness and improving team productivity

“Know thyself” is an adage that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years. This may seem fairly straightforward (“Surely, I know myself better than anyone!”), but that’s often not the case. For one thing, how often do we actually spend time reflecting about ourselves, our perspectives, the way we process information, or the way we interact with others? For most people, these actions are unconscious. We move through the world without thinking about how we move through it.

Programs such as Insights® Discovery challenge us to sink deeper into our internal worlds and become better acquainted—or reacquainted—with ourselves. I use Insights® as an example because I’m a Licensed Practitioner of Insights® Discovery, but many other similar programs exist that help us drill down into the core of our being—StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, Myers-Briggs (informed by the findings of acclaimed psychiatrists Carl Jung, whose work is also the basis of Insights®).

These programs are valuable for helping us understand our personal tendencies, the unique ways we view the world and process information, how we interact with and relate to others, and the work that is best suited to our personalities. All of these findings are valuable for a number of reasons. In my Insights® sessions, people have made a variety of breakthroughs, ranging from clarifying their career paths to developing a better understanding of their strengths and areas of improvement.

Not only are breakthroughs possible, it’s also likely that everyday skills, systems, or functions will improve. One area that often improves is productivity.

How is productivity related to self-discovery? I can think of at least three links:

1. Communication Improves

The more you understand about your own and others communication preferences, the better you’ll be able to facilitate effective communication. For instance, if someone prefers direct communication, keep that in mind next time you have a meeting with that person. Don’t beat around the bush, and do your best to convey precisely what you mean.

On the other side of the coin, if you discover that you prefer indirect communication (an email or a voicemail) so you can think over your options before responding, make your preference clear. The next time someone calls on you during a meeting, say something to the effect of, “I would love to give you my thoughts once I’ve had time to mull them over. I tend to make better decisions once I’ve had time to analyze my options.”

2. Teamwork Improves

When a team goes through Insights® Discovery or a similar assessment program, they gain a deeper understanding of how each other operates. They learn that Maddie’s social tendencies shine during group work or team brainstorming sessions…but she can get frustrated or bored when asked to work alone. They learn that Max prefers direct communication and would rather talk candidly about an issue right away, rather than going through pleasantries or background information.

The team will also have access to a common language. For those who have been through Insights®, they might say, “That’s my yellow energy shining through!” Or, “I’m going to have to think about all this–you know how blue-energy folks love to analyze things!”

3. Suitability Improves

Far too often, we try to fit square pegs into round holes in the workplace. Once a team has undergone an assessment (and has had some subsequent coaching), it will become apparent who is content and well-suited to their current role, and who could use a shift. Perhaps someone is currently tasked with leading a group project, but would strongly prefer a background/support role. That discontentment will probably bubble to the surface when the team learns about each other’s work and communication preferences.

Learning about yourself on a deeper level is not just great for personal improvement, it’s highly valuable for improving team dynamics. If everyone on a work team took the same assessment test (preferably one that’s backed by science and has a proven track record), they would gain a more meaningful understanding of each other’s thought processes, communication preferences, and personalities. And they would also gain a common language to express these differences and distinctions.




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