To understand organisational awareness, it is important to grasp the understanding about what the system is.
Any system is a collection of interconnected elements which interact with each other and share a purpose, values and a set of rules and norms. It is important to understand the patterns and the power within because if you change just one element of the system you are provoking the change in the whole system.
Organizational awareness refers to how well we know and understand the systems within which we operate like our family, workplace, country. It is about the connection between individuals, teams and between the system and outer world.
Getting the awareness higher and wider requires us to focus on fine tuning bits of our Emotional Intelligence such as Understanding Self and Empathy (Assurance Emotional Intelligence Assessment Dimensions) that can help us to develop competencies regarding critical thinking, creating strategies, managing our emotions and behaviours as well as understanding and predicting the behaviours of other people.
mpowered organizational awareness helps us be aware and attuned with written and unspoken values, norms and rules of the organization; being familiar with structure and individuals; knowing how to navigate through the network to meet our personal and organizational goals and what to do to be successful. When it comes to getting things done, being in an officially high position in the organization is less important than having the insight and understanding of explicit and implicit connections and relationship between people within.
Organizational awareness relative to the system approach sounds quite simple and understandable and yet many of the organizations and individuals fail to acknowledge it.
There is some crucial misleading information within every organization that disables the ability to grow its awareness.
- Work as a purpose of life
Being loyal to the job with the role taking the largest part of a person’s identity can be harmful for the individual as well as for the organization. Consequently, people tend to see their responsibility limited to the boundaries of their position. When people focus just on their position, they have little sense (if any) of the overall results of the company. There is no natural interaction and overlapping within organizational roles, individuals and teams and therefore wider awareness may not possible.
- Not taking the responsibility
When there is no interaction, there is no shared responsibility and when something goes wrong people blame someone or something outside themselves or outside their little bubble called ‘my job’. When we focus only on our position, we do not see how our actions impact beyond the boundary of that position. We are not aware that we are part of the same system as something or someone we are putting the blame on.
When there is a problem within the organization there are usually two approaches to it. The Proactive approach is dealing with the problem before it becomes acute. The Reactive approach is the synonym for minimising the damage of the problem.
In both cases one part of the organization is taking action against the other part of it, not realising that everything is part of the same system. Either of the two approaches are not useful if all the parts of organization aren’t equally involved in solution.
- Short sightedness and slow changes
Our experience taught us that life is the set of events and causes. We use the same logic for the organization. Every event has one obvious cause and we can always find it.
The problem here is that we focus only on short term events which might be true, but they can also distract us from seeing longer term patterns of change and understanding them.
The irony lies in the fact that the greatest threat comes from long term accumulated, slow, gradual processes and if we are not able to bring that kind of thinking and reasoning into our awareness we will not be able to learn and create.
Learning to be aware of patterns and gradual changes rather than unconnected, simply explainable events, requires slowing down and paying attention to the subtleties.
- Experience blinded decision making
Most of our awareness comes from direct experience. Through taking an action and seeing onsequences, we are building our awareness of the world, people, and situations. When our actions have consequences in the future or in any part of any system we are involved, the direct experience of the effect of our action is no longer available as the reference.
The most critical decisions made in organizations are the ones that have consequences over years and decades. One of them is promoting the right people into leadership positions. That has long term impact on organizational strategy and values.
The common mistake an organization makes is to promote people who are typically next in the hierarchy line and not taking into consideration the long term goals of the company by not being aware of changes that may come in the future.
- Image oriented decision making
Sometimes the individuals and teams are occupied with ‘picture perfect’ effect. They tend to avoid anything that could make them personally look bad. They tend to undermine and avoid any difficulty, problem, difference in opinion for the sake of image. With that attitude they are escaping from spreading their awareness.
Sharpening our focus and widening our sphere of attention in general allows us to sense the unspoken tone, tide, and climate of the systems we live and operate in. Letting our awareness spread and grow is directly linked with our personal as well as organizational growth.
Organizational Awareness © Assurance Group 2021