What Don't You Know?

Monday, May 07, 2012

Writing for Lifehack, Alexandra Levit notes a common trait among the CEOs she has worked with over the years: self-awareness and a willingness to address personal shortcomings. She cites as an example a man who puzzled his employees by adding more accountants to his management team than they thought necessary:

The new leaders had other expertise besides accounting, but that's not my point. When I spoke to the CEO, I learned that he surrounded himself with financial prowess because he considered this to be his personal area of weakness.  "I don't have a strong accounting background, and yet finance plays a major role in every area of our business.   Issues are inevitably going to come up that I need solid and informed advice handling, even if I can't identify those issues yet," he told me. [bold added]
This is Levit's way of introducing her real point: We don't always know what our shortcomings are, and we can't fix what we don't know is broken. Levit goes on to suggest several intriguing ways to overcome the obstacles we all face when assessing our own weaknesses. I'll just list them here. Follow the link above for more elaboration.
  • Inventory Sub-Optimal Situations
  • Take an Assessment [Test]
  • Ask Colleagues Anonymously
  • Work with a Coach
The biggest surprise was the rather large list of online assessments Levit pointed to. I'm not sure how many of these would be useful (or how easy it would be to "take several", at least in some areas, as Levitt advises), but some of them look like they could offer a decent beginning for an objective self-assessment.

-- CAV

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