Splashing in the Shallow End vs. Diving in the Deep

No Diving

We are often so busy in our daily lives that we just skim the surface, skipping from one immediate situation to the next.  We splash around energetically in response to perceived urgencies, not pausing to look deeply and discern the nature of the problem before plunging on to the next. We make assumptions, take cognitive shortcuts, and become reactive instead of proactive.  This is the norm for most of us.  It is true that in this day and age things move fast, and you need to have fast feet to keep up with everything.  But to achieve deep and lasting successes, a deeper level of insight is required.  If you don’t know when to slow things down and when to dive a little deeper, all you are going to do is create a lot of froth that distracts you from what’s going on under the surface.  You need to know when to seek insight.

The bedrock of insight is self-awareness.  Without a deep understanding of ourselves – our motivations, preferences, strengths, and stumbling blocks – we can’t appreciate our own blinders and filters and how they affect the way we look at people and problems.  With self-awareness comes self-mastery.  We need to know ourselves in order to effectively school ourselves and improve ourselves.  We need self-insight in order to know what we want and to effectively chart a path around our obstacles to achieve it.  What is the next iteration of you, your career, your life?  What gaps do you need to close, what skills don’t you have that you will need to succeed?  Why are you having a hard time putting together a team that really gels? How can you manage to succeed both at work and on the home front?

We can also look more deeply into others to gain insight and improve our effectiveness.  Who is Bob in Accounting?  What motivates him?  What is his personal style?  How can you leverage this Deep Understanding of Bob to get his help changing the broken billing process that is making your clients irate, or coach him to improve his parched presentation skills?  Interpersonal insightfulness is the cornerstone of a host of important business (and life) skills – communication, persuasion, negotiation, teambuilding, and coaching, to name but a few.

Whether we want new insights on old or systemic problems or to better appreciate future challenges, we need to practice looking at an issue from different angles – asking different questions, involving other people, considering a new perspective.  Sometimes you need to step away from the problem and come back to it with fresh eyes; sometimes you’ll need to let it incubate in order to give the disparate pieces of information a chance to knock around together in novel ways.

Our mission is to help people gain insight and use it to better themselves, their teams, their performance, and the health of their organization.  The topics we will talk about in this blog are aimed at helping you learn to find the insights you need to be and do your best, get the most out of your people, and keep your organization strong and successful.  Our hope is that our expert insights, gleaned through years of training and experience, will stimulate your thinking and help you unlock your potential.