Peter Johnson & PiM

Insights Discovery & Deeper Discovery Licensed Practitioners

How open is your window?

I had been away on a development weekend, enjoying being a participant rather than facilitator, keeping my knowledge up to date and challenging myself rather more than usual.
It was all the better as I was sharing time and space with delightful, highly motivated people. Many flew in from other countries as they saw the value of investing in themselves - both financial and time. In many cases the time was substantial due to their travel arrangements.
As a lifelong learner it is quite humbling to see the lengths some people go to keep their knowledge fresh. Yet there are far more who see little attraction in taking time to advance their own learning in a structured way.
One of the beauties of the location was the wonderful outside space used for conversations, walks and breaks; even when the air was a little on the chilly side, or a rain cloud passed through.
As you can see from the picture, the view from the window is lovely. I was quietly enjoying the outlook during a thoughtful moment when something struck me. Yes, that air was a little on the fresh side but I had no wish to close the window. More thoughtfully though it reminded me of a model used in psychology, often in business too, called the Johari Window. A model I have known and used for many years. A model designed to focus on ourselves - how much we know about ourself and how much others know about us.
It was developed by two psychologists in 1955 – they were Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. The name of the model came from their abbreviated names.
The Window is just like the 4-pane window I was looking at – each pane having a meaning.
These are:

  • Open = known by us / know by others
  • Hidden = known by us / not known by others
  • Blind = not known by us / known by others
  • Unknown = not known by us / not know by others

The important part is to acknowledge that these panes need not be fixed. If we share more about ourselves the hidden part reduces. If others share more, we gain a better understanding of what they see in us, so the blind part reduces too.
Interestingly the window in the picture is actually open to let the air in - these panes, the top and bottom on the lefthand side, are our ‘open’ and ‘hidden’ ones; what we know about ourselves. The two fixed ones, top and bottom righthand side, are our ‘blind’ and ‘unknown’.
We all have people in our lives who know so much about us; often sharing thoughts with us because they care, wishing us to be the best version of ourselves. Sometimes the comments can be a surprise in either a positive or negative way, usually intended to be helpful and constructive; when we take on board this learning it can help us develop. In this situation it because we know, like and trust each other. At other times someone may tell us something which we have a distinct view on – we can then either act, react or do nothing with the feedback.
Certainly, the people we admire most in their skill to deal with things in appropriate ways are often very self-aware. Usually because they have worked on their own ‘window’; they have listened to comments, asked others for their point of view, sought feedback.
By listening and seeking feedback we can develop a greater understanding, hence reducing our ‘blind’ window. By sharing and disclosing more we can help others work more effectively with us. By taking time to learn more we can develop our own self-discovery. For these few days that is what all of us were doing. Taking time to think, listen, question, explore.
One of the key benefits of Insights Discovery, gained through Profiles and workshops, is the development of individual, team and business performance. A critical element is developing a greater and true understanding of self.
This is why I always love sharing Insights Discovery with others. To share that awakening.
One of the pages in the Insights Discovery Profile relates to our blind spot; the Profile providing a profound way to extend learning and development. My oldest client (so far) was well into his 70s, a leader of many thousands of people, yet still keen to discover more and fascinated by the Profile I created for them. Following the days away, when I returned home I dug out my Profile which had gathered a little dust, had a renewed look, taking note of the blind spot page…interesting! (The window had provided a useful reminder.)
Looking through the window again, it is wonderful to see the tree standing near the river. Each year it grows a little more - a useful metaphor. I was left wondering: “How much have I grown in the past year…is it enough?’
How about you?
My best wishes,