Speaking from Experience

Striving for Self Awareness

Early in our first session together, Gina aired her frustration that as a Latino woman she had hit the glass ceiling in her corporation, certain that her ethnicity and gender were responsible. Given her background, there was no question in my mind that she was qualified to move forward, and I asked if we could set aside her conclusion until we probed further. She agreed.

Her 360-degree assessment revealed that she had scored herself significantly higher than those around her had, and her delivery on performance fell far short of the mark set by her superiors in recent years. As we continued working together, the picture that came into focus was one of a woman so deep in the weeds of day-to-day delivery that she was failing to use her brilliant mind to adequately survey the landscape, design a strategy, and engage others in its execution.

Having gained her trust by now, I asked, “If you were one of your superiors observing your performance, what would you see?”

“I would see a woman very capable of executing a direction, but not capable of setting one!”

Gina hit the bull’s eye: by lifting her eyes from the details around her to the direction before her, her team’s business performance rocketed forward. That self-awareness—identifying and owning the cause of her stall—was precisely what she needed to shatter through her perceived glass ceiling and continue to new heights in her organization.