AWARENESS IN MANAGEMENT
Transforming data into qualities…
From understanding to meaning…
From meaning to results …
Prepared for a course at the
UNIVERSIDAD ADOLFO IBAÑEZ
“A problem is the difference between what you have and what you want”
This is a draft for course work.
Please do not reproduce it without the
formal authorization of the author
Sergio I Melnick
Overview … 2
10 attributes of great managers …4
Dealing with awareness … 9
5 main pillars of awareness process …11
The innovation cycle …13
The creative process …14
Dealing with the inner world …16
From ideas to action: from mind to heart …18
The personal voyage of life …20
Improving the awareness process for the external …21
Critical thinking standards …22
A possible course in business awareness …23
Measuring the starting point … 26
Key readings …28
Exercise 1 …29
An alternative approach to awareness with questions …
Stuck in a problem?
Organization cycles, post symbolic language
El Viaje del Héroe
Ordenando objetivos anuales
There are at least three things almost all human beings share, for good or bad,
and with sundry arrays of success:
1. We are all necessarily managers of our own life,
2. We are all forced to be, decision makers, and
3. We do these two, always oriented to the future. We always plan,
anticipate, and predict.
These are natural components of management. Thus, in principle we could say
that everyone could eventually become a manager in business. That’s correct.
However not all will succeed, and just very few will excel. Management today
has become a very technical profession.
In the complex current civilization, in order to become a good manager, it is not
enough to be just intuitive or being able to run our personal lives adequately.
There are so many societal codes and regulations for business, and
organizations, and so much technical knowledge available and necessary, that
it is rather difficult, albeit not impossible, to be a self made manager that
reaches the top.
That’s why people today attend business schools, that have proliferated
extensively in the last decades. There are thousands of them.
Business as such, is new discipline, perhaps no more than 100 years old, that
is, relatively new. Some scholars actually think of it as a science. I rather think
of it as a discipline that draws on many sciences.
Before that time, most managers with a profession came from engineering,
perhaps law. The majority of managers, for centuries, were actually self made
managers, made on the practice of it. Many of them were entrepreneurs, faced
with the imperatives of management.
In sum, today’s majority of managers come from business schools, and not all
of them teach equally or the same.
The most elemental mission of a good business school is to make it’s students
great professional managers. People are not robots or computers. Thus
transmitting knowledge to students is simply not enough. A solid business
school will obviously teach elements such as; what is management, what
managers do, the different specialties and their challenges (marketing,
accounting, finance, strategy, human resources, and so on) , and will provide
best tools available for all of that. Some will be more practical, others more
theoretical. But there is still the “person” part in the equation that is actually
what always, with no exception, still makes all the differences in life. That
means that the very same business school, with equal curricula, will generate
different types of managers. Amongst graduates some will eventually fail, as
much as those who would become quite successful. Some will even leave the
profession. But how come is that? Can we guaranty just a minimum of
success? Well, we simply cannot. We can only guaranty a certain amount of
formal professional knowledge, like in many other professions. Management is
not a “mechanical” activity, with clear perfect solutions.
Human beings are essentially unpredictable
We do change. We actually make an effort to change. Furthermore, we aim at
generating change all around. That has many interesting implications. For
instance, that is the underlying reason why controllable futures are ultimately
less predictable than uncontrollable ones. The fact that controllable futures are
less predictable than the uncontrolled seems like a paradox, doesn’t it?
All our decisions are made in order to change the future. We make our
decisions based on information and knowledge, and that changes every
second. Furthermore, decisions as such, can only be made in the present, the
future cannot be so to speak “pre-decided”. For example, you cannot “decide”
today to get up tomorrow at a certain hour. You certainly may have the
intention to do so, but the actual decision will be made only at the very precise
moment of having to get up. Should the information have changed, from the
time of your “intention”, then, you will modify your decision accordingly. If, for
instance, you had an emergency just before, or if you feel sick, or whatever the
situation, the decision will be different of your initial intention.
This issue is not evident in itself. Actually, if you ask less informed people
about the subject, they would probably emphatically assert you, that the more
controllable a future, the more predictable it is. It takes more than just
knowledge to “understand” all of this. It takes a form of awareness. It implies
“meaning”. There are so many exceptions, and still the conclusions holds. Just
understanding it’s not enough here. How will that be used in practice? Well,
again, the “human factor” is the key.
Business schools will try, as much as possible, to support that “human” and
inner part of the unknown equation that explains success. That has to do with
developing competences such as the ability of the student to think and learn on
his/her own, ideally with strong values and ethics in management, character
building, discipline, responsibility, network building, curiosity, and self
management to a certain extent. Sure enough, a significant component of the
final management skills and abilities will be developed through experience, an
ineludible component of this profession. But that is out of the reach of the
Management is an activity that deals with decisions, actions, and it must
always be especially geared towards results. Management it is not an
intellectual endeavor as it may be philosophy, True awareness always
metaphysics, history, and others of the kind. With the implies a change.
same education and training, some managers will go to Change is the driving
public organizations, others will be executives, and gear of innovation.
others will be entrepreneurs, but all of them, as
managers, will be necessarily oriented to results.
So, right in the intersection between the “you” part of the equation, and the
managerial capacity and competences there emerges a weird concept:
awareness. Something that if improved will, I believe, become a clear
competitive advantage in the profession. An advantage that is absolutely
personal, not replicable.
That’s the basic tenet of this proposal. Should that be case, the natural
question arises immediately: should that competence be part of the curricula in
a business school? Can it actually be taught and measured?
Let’s begin the subject with an interesting exercise.
10 attributes that make a good manager and could anticipate
There is obviously no agreement about what is the core of the core of which are
the key competences that most likely would
make managers successful. Many current Reality is merely an illusion,
practicing managers have never even albeit a very persistent one.
attended a business school, and some Albert Einstein
could even possibly teach there.
Experience does matter indeed.
The difficulty in finding these core competences is even more evident in the
case of entrepreneurship. Warren Bennis in the 70’s set out to elaborate a
general theory of success in his research at MIT business school. The
experience was frustrating at first, but eventually quite productive. In fact, from
this research and publications altogether new schools of thought emerged
around leadership.1 The question however is still open. The world has
continued to change. Technology is pervasive, globalization a reality and so on.
It’s is quite a valuable exercise trying to find the 10 –or so- attributes that
maximize the possible success of the manager. Perhaps the exercise is even
more important than the actual results. Each business school does this exercise
all the time, and seem never to be solved..
Let’s see some of them: a proposal.
Sure enough, some technical knowledge base in business is absolutely
necessary, but still seems to be not sufficient. Many other competences are still
needed. Going through the literature and internet, we will find almost hundreds
of such desired attributes for management. All of them seem good, a priori.
Nonetheless, on the first place no one can possibly have them all. On the
second place we do observe successful managers with quite the opposite of
In practice we observe that, for instance, there are successful managers that
are not very good leaders, being leadership a trait more than often mentioned.
Furthermore we find solid managers that are even not necessarily honest, as
desirable as it seems. That’s the case for instance, in drug cartel’s managers, or
perhaps the case of pornography just to name a couple. With the current
economic crisis, many managers have emerged that were actually either
breaking the law or deceiving customers (or both), and were until then
considered quite successful and even idealized for quite a long time. I am sure
many of those gave lucid talks or classes in top business schools.
Benis then found that the capacity to physically envision objectives, the capacity to have
others “see” these images, the capacity to convince others about the power and returns upon
“materializing” them, the capacity to focus, perseverance were critical competences that
everyone in his sample had and were identical.
We have also seen successful managers that are good listeners, but also there
are others that act like dictators, and both types are successful. The same way,
some good managers do manage their selves quite well, and others simply
don’t, and have quite difficult personal and family lives. Not even a special
intelligence seems to be a key trait. We see more than often average
intelligence transformed in great managers. That’s normally accompanied with
other attributes or virtues.
Thus, the question is indeed quite intriguing. Is there a core of the core in
management competences? Is there a minimum that maximizes the chance of
success? As for a knowledge base perhaps, but we know it’s not enough.
In my personal case I will adventure in the next chart an opinion in that vein.
These competences I have selected, are subjective, and the result of my own
experience having participated in tens of companies and organizations (private
and public) in different capacities, from manager, to CEO, or even in the board.
Also as an entrepreneur with both many failures and a few successes. It also
considers decades of teaching, including a deanship of a school of business,
trying top solve the puzzle.
The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes
a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.
My intention here is not to solve the riddle, but to install the question and the
debate. Perhaps with the intention that each manager should try to build such a
list for his/her own, and do the necessary workout afterwards. Finding the gap
between what you deem necessary and what
you have is an interesting form consciousness. "Vision is the art of
seeing the invisible."
Probably the initial list would evolve in time with Jonathon Swift
the wisdom of experience. Having such a
personal list it’s certainly and advance in awareness.
No doubt, as emphasized before, there is a knowledge base and some basic
competences requested in management, particularly in the 21 century.
Business schools spend countless hours trying to define the best general
curricula, leaving aside for a moment the specialization areas in which it is
always more clear what to teach. Interesting enough all these schools reach
different solutions. They usually agree on subjects such as accounting,
quantitative skills, perhaps some marketing, finance, or human resources. All of
that is always desirable. In my personal view, by and large, the more
knowledgeable the manager the better the expected results in this “age”, as
long as his geared to action and results.
Bottom line, if I was to single out the core of the core in knowledge, I would
select two themes: (a) project assessment, and (b) negotiation skills.
Understanding and calculating well the numbers of a project, is an integrative
business knowledge process for action. Each project assessment will force you
to define how much specific knowledge and details are need in that case,
depending in the project. But almost all are needed. Some projects are
intensive in technology, others in marketing, others in logistic, others in strategy
or efficiency, and so on. However, all of them need number crunching skills,
strategy notions, logistics considerations, organization definitions, solid
finances, and all of them have to deal with risk. In project assessment you need
to learn how to make the appropriate questions, and that is a great competence.
Secondly, in management, almost all you do has always an important
A good manager, almost by definition, must always be oriented to results.
Management is actually measured by results, not by intentions or the finesse of
its models or ideas. A good manager, I believe, must have a permanent hunger
for success, whatever the form used for its
measurement. A good manager, unavoidably needs
initiative. Accordingly, having clear objectives, clear
targets, clear ways of measuring results is a key
attribute of a manager. Accomplishing these results
needs an appropriate strategy and all the adaptability
possible, along the way. Adaptability is much more
than flexibility. It involves learning ability and
evolution capacity. Adaptability is a competence that
can be developed. La imaginación es más importante
que el conocimiento.
As the old business wisdom reads: no risk no gain. A good manager must
understand and deal appropriately with risk. There is a necessity to clearly
identify the risks involved in the domain of its practice, and find, in each case,
the adequate balance between boldness and risk aversion, according to
Keeping on, a manager without a solid discipline will never be a good manager
in the long term. A manager without a systematic focus capacity, will never get
best results. Summing up all the above, perseveration is, in my view, a
fundamental attribute for a successful manager. As Edison pointed out: success
is only 2% inspiration and 98% perspiration.
All the above is still not enough. A good manager never procrastinates.
Procrastination may perhaps be defined, in this case, as the perfect antithesis
A manager in general will always need to communicate in different levels and
forms. To begin with the instructions to subordinates or all reports needed, the
presentations, and so on. There are formal and informal ways of
communication. Even body language, at times, could be important. Whatever
the situation, nobody can be a good manager without some basic
communication skills. We may differ in the skills that are more appropriate, but
not in the necessity for communications. I am not even arguing that must be a
great communicator, only effective, nor even efficient.
A good manager always evolves. Do the same things always, and you will get
always the same results always. The world always moves. The basic
motivation for evolution is desired success, and aiming at the top (recognition),
and not always at becoming an independent entrepreneur. Not everyone can
become an entrepreneur. Furthermore the latter need managers.
Last but not least, results are mandatory, but also it is the “power game” within
the organizations, and in the markets. In that area, the network of the manager
plays a vital role, as it plays in information and access. Knitting networks is a
key competence needed by a manager, especially nowadays were the extent of
such networks is simply incredible and worldwide in scope.
All these attributes and their development hinge upon the “awareness” ability.
"Discovery consists of looking at the same thing as
everyone else and thinking something different."
Albert Szent-Gyrgyi, Nobel Prize winner
Dealing with “awareness”
As important as it is, awareness is quite an elusive concept. There is no good
formal definition2. There are actually many synonyms to get around, such as,
cognizant, perception, conscious, alertness, sensible, awake, alert, watchful,
vigilant. For languages such as Spanish, there is simply no adequate
To become aware implies that some knowledge was gained through one's own
perceptions, or by means of information. Somehow, something must have
entered your consciousness as you gain awareness. Something has been
perceived. But, what is it exactly what do became aware of? An idea? Data?
Emotion? Intuition? What id the
“texture” or “currency” so to speak of
awareness. Awareness is
something beyond simple
There is an “external” level of
awareness that is less relevant for
this essay. For example, when you
became aware of a new legislation
piece, or perhaps some hostility of
an opponent, or a child behavior, or
the last statistic number. It could also
be applied to trends of different
Awareness has to do with
understanding and practicing the
difference between watching and
seeing, of listening and hearing.
Bottom line, the notion of awareness
that I’m trying to explore here, is more an attitude than act. It is not an idea or
model, IT’S RATHER A WAY OF THINKING. I will expand further this crucial
distinction later on.
Awareness thus is always and necessarily personal.3 It’s something more
profound than mere knowledge. True awareness, as you will learn, it’s always
linked to action: the very essence of management. That’s the link, that’s the
The key question is if we can change our level of awareness deliberately.
Should the answer be positive, then it must necessarily be learned in
This is nice quote: “Those of us who actively participate in the new online world are aware that
we need to be more aware…”. http://www.capgemini.com/ctoblog/2006/11/personal_awareness_versus_busi.php
One may argue that bottom line everything is personal. May be, but here I want to differentiate
from things that may be social, natural, technological, formal and so on. Personal here means
As you see, it is not that easy to define exactly what is awareness, much less
what does it mean from the standpoint of management. For instance, is it a
skill?, an art?, a method?, an attitude? Is it something discrete or continuous?
Is it rational? Well, probably is all of that in different ways. That’s the difficulty.
Without defining it yet, awareness is an attribute of the relationship between
the internal an external world of an individual. In practical terms it deals with
heavy concepts, such as consciousness, soul, data and information, brain and
mind, language and tongue, ideas, values,
emotions, logic, and so on, that finally define Brand awareness is a known use of
your own identity. It’s “you” who became the term in marketing. However
interpretation and measurements
aware of something, and you have no equal on
are not always clear. Common three
earth. In other words each “awareness” is levels are defined: first reference,
different. It is as difficult as love. Theory is not clear identification, having heard of.
enough. It means nothing without practice. A formal Definition:
“Extent to which a brand is
Awareness therefore is about you, in this recognized by potential customers,
case you as a manager. But it is about you and is correctly associated with a
personally. And it must be dealt as such. particular product. Expressed
usually as a percentage of target
The interest here, therefore, is not market, brand awareness is the
primary goal of advertising in the
philosophical or conceptual, but in relation to
early months or years of a product's
management skills and its results. introduction”.
Management is about results, not about http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/brand-awareness.html
intellect, which is naturally necessary, but not
University of Edimburg
That is, the proposal is to
enhance awareness in order to
gear it (what ever it is) to results
that can be measured in different
ways, according to objectives.
Sure enough we have to deal
with the abstract concepts
abovementioned, but always for http://www.careers.ed.ac.uk/Business_Awareness/index.htm
the sake of practical action in
organizations of different types. Awareness serves equally, public and private,
small and big organizations
From data to qualities: awareness is the way
Our direct senses capture a lot of direct data all the time. Our “informed” mind
receives tons of formal (processed) data, pieces of information, and knowledge.
All of that together and interrelated generates our “language” or our map of
reality. But the map is not the territory. There is a gap between data and
reality. That gap is perhaps infinite, and a key reason for that is the very
essence of qualities and symbols. Qualities are something data can only
approach to but fully not capture. Well, awareness is our capacity to somehow
fill that gap. It is the extent to which part of that gap is covered.
An initial practical approach: external AWARENESS has five
If awareness is closer to an attitude than an act, or event, then there is
necessarily an ongoing continuous process working beneath. That process is
the actual manner in which we connect our inner world with the external, for the
sake of managing organizations or creating new ones, both in the private and
public arenas. Awareness is not to be associated with nothing similar to
illumination, in the spiritual
tradition. Awareness, as said
before, is the result of a process,
whereas illumination is an event.
In general terms, a process is
basically a series of actions or
activities taken to obtain an
The starting point is the relationship
between us and the situation,
condition, event, or trend that we
need to became aware of. The
observer may have different
positions that will affect the
awareness process. It may be
changing from one type of relation to another.
The deepness of the understanding this relationship is somehow a good proxi
for the level of awareness. We can start to think of that relationship as a
Further down we will deal with the “person” in this process.
Formalizing the process
That means that business or management awareness is the result of such a
sequence of activities. This process can be formal or just intuitive. Of course,
the more formal we make it, the more productive it will be. That’s the objective
of management education in this case. The first step is to be “aware” of the
existence of such process. The second step is to improve it step by step until
mastering, but it in your own way. That is, even though there is a general
description of the model, it s always tailored by the user.
Seeing this ovwerall process, it looks very similar to the innovation cycle. If
such is the case I would like to suggest that awareness is a necessary condition
for innovation, and probably should be included into it’s theories and models.
The innovation cycle
The chart that follows, shows the traditional understanding of the innovaction
cycle. Basically, is how to go from ideas to business results and hopefully
Underlying any innovation process is a basic awareness of what is believed
possible. Creativity needs awareness.
The creative process
Creativity is an innate faculty of human beings. We are all creative in different
degrees and areas. Its like a “software program” already installed in our
“operating human system”. That program –so tospeak- can be used better than
we usually do. That’s the real objective of training programs and workshops in
creativity. However, the first and necessary step is to “activate” or launch the
program so to speak. Many times has been blocked.
Back to awareness, like in any process, there is an input and an output in each
node. In practical terms, even though there is a rational sequence, all parts
work always simultaneously. Remember that awareness deals with how do we
connect the outer and inner world for the sake of business.
Dealing with the outer world
One of the obvious things about our outer world is that there is movement, and
changes all the time. That’s simple but not trivial. There is an inner urge in
human beings to make sense of it, to understand it, both for practical and deep
reasons, in that order of interest. Thus, dealing with the outer world means
trying to understand it and learn the cause effect phenomena. To that end we
do certain recurrent actions, that make a full process.
The SENSEMAKING, is the basis of the relationship with the external world of
the individual, or the organization as well. In this node of the process,
awareness means being alert to signals and what’s happening “out there”.
Common sense will only capture all the external and obvious things, but what
makes the world tick. Both science and faith have always defy common sense.
Awareness is obviously beyond common sense. In spite of observing in present
time, all we can document is always the past. Nonetheless, the objective is not
the past, but the future. The challenge is to find patterns, meaning, or whatever
may help us to project into the future. Historians are clearly the first futurists.
Gathering isolated events are useless since they are just part of the past.
Finding a pattern of events is a different question.
This stage of the process has to do with the sensors to which we have access,
in order to gather data, information, and knowledge. It is a process
fundamentally analytic, from the methodological standpoint.
In observing and documenting “reality”, we always look at the world with prior
models, or the knowledge we have so far. That builds up the “language”, or our
maps of reality. The map is not the territory (something that is changing in the
virtual world) but they define what can we actually “see”. As it is obvious, this
part of the process can be formalized to a great extent, and thus improved
significantly. In fact at the present stage of civilization we carry out this part of
the task with an enormous amount of technology. Mastering that technology is
crucial. Furthermore, a lot of technology in history has actually been devised to
improve such sub-process.
If we were successful in this part of the process, the output will be the capacity
of CONNECTING, in the form of models, maps, conjectures, or theories. This
activity has to do with synthesis (as opposed to analysis). It’s the capacity of
transforming data into knowledge. Being successful means that we have
“learned” something (different with just experienced it). As a result of this new
knowledge, we expect a new capacity to anticipate cause effect situations.
Therefore it is nothing but a strong bridge to the future. This outcome, as said
already, will always be quite influenced by our prior knowledge, tools, and
methods available4. This stage is the basis for the healthy aspect of
Now is the time of going across the bridge. It’s the time ENVISIONING. In
business and organizations the “vision” –which is the desired output of this
process- must be prior to the mission, and the latter previous to the strategy.
Strategy in turn must be previous to organization. An organization is basically
instrumental to the strategy. The vision may take many forms. All are the initial
forms taken by the opportunities. It could be new products or services. Perhaps
creating new rules of interaction, with new relationships and resources, and so
on. This is the capacity of creating inner virtual scenarios to be materialized
From time to time (a la Kuhn) we may have paradigm changes. Still those are reactions to the
previous ones. No knowledge starts from zero.
New ideas normally need the process of INVENTING. That is bringing it down
from virtual to real. Invention splits out into two different areas. One has to do
with the creating the prototypes in order to demonstrate that they actually work.
The other has to do with things that must experienced directly, that are more
abstract such as new business models, and new types of relationships that add
the greatest value to our organizations, new control methods. Strategy in
business is certainly a key inventive piece.
All the above activities are part of the process of relating with the external world.
Dealing with the INNER world
The true problem is that the “future” which is the “space” were we want the
success to happen, is an entirely human idea. It is a social drive. It is a social
conflict. The future is open and we all want to grasp or capture a piece of it.
That’s the name of the human game. Both our greatness and selfishness enter
into action here. The best and the worst will come out in trying to capture the
Every human being is different, in many
ways unique. Our DNA is 98% similar to
apes. Were we differ the most is in our
ideas and emotions. That is the key
foundation for the necessity of freedom.
Furthermore, we actually want to be
differentiated, perhaps special.
Successful managers do make a
difference; otherwise machines and
systems will do the job. All of that is to
say that there is no real awareness http://www.integralworld.net/images/TetraEvo.jpg
without a significant dose of self-
knowledge. In this case we are aiming specially to the manager’s part of
oneself, but still there is the overall “person” behind. These cannot be fully
The essence here is that we are
dealing, on the one side with
emotions and values, and on the
other with the erratic field of
creativity, as a necessary
condition to the innovation game.
One of the best books in creativity
for business, is Michael Ray’s
“The highest Goal”, which recalls
the discoveries of the famed
Stanford Creativity Course offered
by Ray for more than 25 years.
The focus of his approach is
basically the inner person. Here
we enter in grounds that seem
closer to psychology courses, or perhaps religion, rather than to business
subjects. But in this case they simply cannot be separated. That’s the tenet of
the awareness challenge.
Moving from the mind to the heart: from ideas to action
Management is about action, decisions, and
Since management is a result oriented activity, it’s driven by action. Ideas are
necessary but not sufficient for action. In order for an idea to move into action,
necessarily an emotion has to take place. Emotions are what actually trigger
either a necessity or desire of action. Emotions, however are always personal,
subjective, and difficult to compare and systematize.
As said before, emotions are personal, subjective, and variable. Parallel to
emotions we also have instincts at work. Instincts are reactions that occur with
no thinking in between. Instincts are the natural reaction in times of crisis.
Some are good, some not that much and make an effort to control them. The
combination of systematic ideas and inner work with emotions give rise to
“attitudes”, which are the normal way we confront our situations in life,
professional, social, or personal.
It is through attitudes that we can actually improve our desired results.
The practical question here is to identify and workout your most important
attitudes in life. Emotions can be positive or negative. Attitudes are also neutral
in addition to positive and negative.
Sure enough, by and large, we must try to get rid of negative attitudes. Even if
we attain that, the negative emotions will still exist in life. Pain does exist. The
great challenge is thus how to maintain positive attitudes coexisting with
negative emotions. Only through inner work.
The personal voyage of life
Regardless of what we do or how, ultimately we are all working for us, for our
own meaning of life. That includes the family, society, or other causes. We all
try to understand and hopefully follow our “vocation”, our “destiny”, or any other
definition you may prefer.
In that sense life is a voyage. We are certain about being alive, and of the end.
We need to make sense of everything in between. Michael Ray will call the
awareness of the voyage the “highest goal”. Ray says that you are really
wealthy when you can do what you really like and have meaning to you, and
you certainly enjoy doing. That is a life full of purpose and meaning.
Whatever the way you use in order to become “aware” of who you really are,
that exercise is absolutely necessary. It is that “you” who actually is the
manager we are dealing with here, and that will use the competences to
become successful in that field. Now we have to find the opportunities and
challenges out there.
Improving the awareness process for the external
Based on all the above so far, bring us to the conclusion that awareness is not a
zero-one type of case or state. That is, you are not totally aware or unaware. It
is more of a scale along which you move. You improve –or decrease- your
LEVEL of awareness. That is the result not of just inspiration but solid and
systematic work and workout.
The brief description of the overall awareness process shows that it can actually
be modeled conceptually and thus can be improved and taught. We see
immediately that there are tools available; there are theories and models
available in each step. There is technology available in each node. In a few
words, it renders itself for a discipline on its own accepting thus all the benefits
of critical thinking.
Should that be the case, and achieving through formal working, a better
functioning of the awareness process, that will significantly improve the
innovation capacity. That’s a hypothesis worth been explored.
Awareness should allow us to understand better our surroundings and our
organizations, naturally beyond common sense. Actually true awareness
always defies common sense, because it deals with creativity and the future.
Awareness facilitates predicting and organizing changes within, and outside an
organization, managing the lines of communication along which interactions
flow and within which decisions take root or die. Awareness seeks to
understand and manage this act of giving meaning and creating connections in
order to achieve objectives that one has set out to accomplish.
Critical Thinking standards
If awareness is finally a particular way of thinking and approaching things, it’s
subject to the general principles of good thinking, a combination of a critical
attitude, and methods of formalizing knowledge.
Estándares del bien pensar
CRITICAL thinking standards
Es mi pensamiento...
¿Lo puedo comunicar bien?
¿puedo elaborar más en este
punto¿ ¿lo puedo expresar de ¿Es eso realmente verdad? ¿Lo
otra manera? ¿Tengo ejemplos? puedo demostrar o
probar?,¿Tan exacto como
¿Tan preciso como requiere el tema? requiere el tema? ¿tengo las
¿Puedo dar más detalles? ¿Puedo ser herramientas conceptuales y
más específico? ¿Podré sacar técnicas para lidiar con el
conclusiones con un grado de error tema? Una aseveración puede
apropiado para su utilización práctica ser clara pero no exacta
o en referencia a las opiniones?. Una
aseveración puede ser clara pero no ¿Es realmente relevante al tema?
precisa o se da vueltas por las ramas.
¿Cómo está esto conectado a la
pregunta?, ¿Está realmente
¿Aborda realmente las focalizado?
complejidades del tema o
problema? ¿va a la yugular? ¿Está
tomando en cuenta los verdaderos ¿Demasiado estrecho o
problemas del tema? ¿Tiene las demasiado amplio? ¿Hay
variables fundamentales? equilibrio entre lo abstracto y las
aplicaciones? ¿Se requiere
considerar otro punto de vista?
¿Cómo se vería esto desde un
¿Es lógico? ¿Es coherente y punto de vista conservador, u
consistente? ¿Se deriva eso de lo otro..?
que ha dicho? ¿Cómo se deriva
Objectives of a course about awareness in business
The working hypotheses in the course are the following:
1. Awareness if a fundamental element or variable in the innovation cycle.
Innovation is the central gear of business evolution. This offers us a
conceptual framework of reference,
2. Awareness is not an isolated event or experience, but the result of an
attitude. Awareness is a way of thinking, therefore renders itself for
3. There is a structural process working beneath awareness. However it
must be tailored by each one. That is the bases for teaching it. There
are levels of awareness, not a zero-one possibility. Teaching it means
improving the level,
4. As much as awareness deals with understanding the external world, it
does equally so with the inner part of the manager, as a person. There
are three basic areas for awareness in business: inner, business and
organization, and external,
5. Awareness is something that must be experienced, not just understood.
It has to move from the mind to the heart in order to generate actions
6. Awareness is a core competence for manager’s success
Bottom line, awareness is always personal, therefore everyone will do it or
experience it in a different way. Increasing the level of awareness is something
similar of doing it in creativity. It is different from learning models and
techniques that can de replicated in a similar manner by different people. Thus,
the main objective of a course in awareness is twofold:
a. To increase the actual level of awareness, as a result of formalizing and
improving the awareness process,
b. To tailor the awareness process to each personal manager, learn how to
continue doing so systematically his or her own way.
The very fact that is done in a different way by everyone, makes it, if
accomplished, in a differential attribute. A competitive advantage for
yourself. A non replicable skill or attribute.
On the personal side, one of the first “levels” of awareness is formally defining
the current or “personal business model” of the manager. He or she, need to be
“aware” of that, as a necessary starting point for success. That “business
model” has to do with the inner self. And that leads us to a complex set of
issues, still necessary.
In addition of the main objectives, there is a number of secondary objectives,
To better understand our real managerial capacities (and your self) in
terms of execution and diagnosis.
To increase our capacity for organizational learning
To be capable of anticipating the impact of changes, crises and action
plans in the organization and respecting outside perspectives, while
being able to act efficiently in response. Specific attention will be paid
to changes in political and economic climate and in businesses that
affect the region in question.
To better understand social dynamics and to use them to our benefit
and to the benefit of the organization to which we belong.
To understand better how organizations are able to create new rules
in the world of business and new sources of value, to capitalize on
the advantages that new technological advances offer them, and,
clearly, to reinvent for themselves fresh business models.
To prepare our teams and organizations in the face of change and
great challenges (and not to drown in the attempt!). If courses on
strategy seek shows us how to “think strategically,” this
AWARENESS course will allow us to enter the exciting world of
“acting strategically” for ourselves, in our organizations and in the
markets and professional circles in which we move.
How can such a course be taught?
Awareness has to do with the way we think. No one can gain
Thus, a course for that is based y coaching awareness for you.
the student to actually think along the Changing awareness is not
awareness process, until making it a built in taught, but coached. You have
system. Ideally fully automatic. to do the work on your own.
Since there is a “level of awareness” the course must try to improve that level,
and ideally measure such movement.
The couching method is this case based on questions. The level of awareness,
is directly related to THE WAY YOU SOLVE OR RELATE TO THE
QUESTIONS. If the student “manages” to devise his/her own systematic
method for dealing with these questions, you they have acquired a valuable
At the outset of the course a brief self evaluation is made, based on a test, to
define the initial level. The student on his/her own will judge at the end if that
To that end, the course confronts the student with about 150 fundamental
questions (from personal to managerial and organizational), and 50 more that
each specific ones, that each participant has to identity for him or herself.
We expect not only that each student will gain awareness in relation to these
questions, but that each student will “model” it’s OWN way of dealing with them
in a way that this model will become a technology (or technique) of it’s own.
This model should be tested in the 50 questions raised by each one.
This course seeks to provide tools for disciplined, conscientious thinking about
everything that happens in our organizations, your environment, and within
ourselves. This is a practical way of approaching AWARENESS.
The main work of the participant will be done using conceptual maps,
based on the “levels”. Ideally these should be done with computer assistance
with programs such as Visio, but they can be done manually, obviously with
much more work each time they are redone.
Measuring the starting point
If awareness is a scale, you should be able to move along it. That implies that
somehow we must be able to measure the steps. Interestingly enough, the only
one who can measure such a progress is the manager itself.
My suggestion thus, is to create a simple test for the manager to complete and
define an initial level for his/her own. That would have a significant dose of
subjectivity, but defines a starting point, a reference. Then, at the end of the
course, or along time, using his/her own criterion, the student will define
whether the awareness has changed in relation to that initial point.
The first alternative is measure the awareness basically in relation to the 10 top
competencies needed for his/her as a manager.
The second alternative is entering a bit to the inner self.
The initial test
The chart that follows presents a simple self test to get a starting point. It is
based on the three areas and levels of awareness presented before. The only
objective at first, is to asses after the course, if there is a change that is
perceptible for the student.
As we have seen above, awareness is a scale of levels, not a zero/one type of
situation. Thus, we will attempt to identify your position in a scale from 1 to 10.
Three sets of questions have been selected for each domain: (a) inner, (b)
business environment, (c) organization and management. In each case, each
question as a weight, and all add up to 100%.
The logic of the test is the following: for each question, in a scale of 1 to 10, in
the set (a) and (b) the answer you should provide, is a measure of how difficult
it was for you to come up with an answer. It is absolutely subjective, do not
worry about that. You will always be measured only against your self.
Answering 1 in a question will mean that you already have the answer that is
satisfactory to you. In opposition, giving a 10 to a question means that is was
extremely difficult to reach such answer and you are still not completely
satisfied. An answer with a low number (say 1, 2, 3) means that you have
already worked with the problem and do have clear ideas about it. The more
you have dealt with a problem, the more “aware” we will expect you to be in that
area. Resting the weighted average of the question from 10, will provide the first
These questions thus, deal with “how aware” are of your self in different areas
covered by the questions. Should a question take more than 5 minutes, you
should rank the answer with a 5 or more.
In the last set of questions (c), you should assess your self estimated level the
usual way. That is 1 you do not know or it is very difficult, 10 you feel quite
confident and it is easy to answer.
The final level of current awareness will be the average of the three, and you
will know the actual composition of that indicator.
The same test should be taken in the middle of the course. In this case
however, we look not for the difficulty in answering, but the answer as such.
Same as we did with the section (c) for the first time. That is, 10 represents
confidence in the answer. In this case the index will be a direct weighted
Finally, at the end of the course, the second test is taken again. The three
results are analyzed in search of a personal conclusion, and a personal action
Melnick, Sergio y José Miguel Barraza, (2008), ETAN: Estrategia, tecnología,
adaptabilidad y negocios, Anticipa, Santiago
2. Organization and business
4. Looking at the future
5. Part 2, business models: the map of the treasury
Ray, Michael (2004-5), The Highest Goal, BK, San Francisco
Carr, Nicholas, (2008), The Big Switch. Rewiring the world, from Edison to
Google, W.W. Norton and Co, N.Y.,
Clippinger, John Henry III, editor, (1999), The Biology of Business. Decoding the
natural laws of enterprise, Jossey-Bass Pu, San Francisco
Friedman, Thomas L., (2006), The World is Flat. A Brief History of the Twenty-
First Century 2.0, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, N.Y.
Kurzweil, Ray, (2005), The Singularity is near. When Humans trascende biology,
Melnick, Sergio, (2006), “ A general model for the treatment of time-spans on futures
research and planning”, en Creating Global Strategies for Humanity’s Future,
editado por Timothy C. Mark, World Future Society, Maryland,USA
Meyer, Christopher & Stan Davis, (2003), It’s Alive. The coming convergence of
information, biology, and business, Crown Business, N.Y.
En la WEB
Una revista con el nombre “awareness” en el terreno espiritual
Clave del “own awareness” en business
Diseño de un test para evaluar el “nivel de awareness” (POR GRUPO)
0. Formalice su definición de awareness, sea
de acuerdo a este trabajo o una suya Awareness:
propia o una combinación, transformar datos en cualidades, de
1. Navegue el mapa hasta que se sienta conocer a entender, de entender a
cómodo con los contenidos y la lógica, saber captar lo que está detrás
2. Trate de completarlo o modificarlo de de los datos, o lo que estos no
acuerdo a su propio entendimiento del pueden capturar. Ciertamente
tema, requiere datos, información, y
3. Diseñe un test que mida el nivel de conocimiento para partir.
awareness para cada área y combinado Aprender a mirar y “ver” al mismo
4. Puede usar el test de referencia de la “saber”
página siguiente si le acomoda, o El awareness requiere de la
simplemente mejorarlo “experiencia”, en la experimentación.
5. Haga el test para cada uno del grupo No es teórico.
6. Evalúe, corrija, comente
Ejemplo de un test posible
MIDIENDO EL AWARENESS EN NEGOCIOS
Este es un test para medir un punto de referencia de su "NIVEL DE AWARENESS" INICIAL. Cómo es cualitativo, sus resultados no son comparables entre
personas, sino que sólocon usted mismo. La escala de respuestas es de 1 a 10, donde 1 es una respuesta negativa a la pregunta y 10 muy positiva. El peso
relativo que tiene cada pregunta es arbitrario y representa la opinión del diseñador del ejercicio. Si cualquiera de estas preguntas le toma mas de 4 a 5 minutos
para responderla el score debe estar sobre 5.
1 no se, 10 lo tengo clarísimo
A SU CONOCIMIENTO INTERIOR Peso Inicio Fin Comentario para recibir opiniones
¿Cuán bien cree usted que se conoce a si mismo? Por ejemplo, su auténtica vocación,
Esta pregunta de alguna manera esta
1 misión en la vida, quizás destino, miedos, etc. Cuán fácil es responder a lapregunta ¿para 10% 7
repetida en las otras.
que vivo realmente en este período? ¿Cuán claro tengo mis objetivos de largo plazo?
1 tendría que trabajar
2 Puede encontrar las 5 palabras que lo definen o describen en un 80% o más mucho, 10 las tengo 8% 5
1 tendría que trabajar
3 Identifique sus 5 dogmas o creencias más importantes en su vida. mucho, 10 las tengo 8% 7
1 tendría que trabajar
Identifique los 7 aspectos más característicos de su carácter. En que medida lo expresan a
4 mucho, 10 las tengo 9% 7
Cuan formal es su propio "plan de negocios" de su vida personal (en general, no de
6 9% 3
Encuentre sus 4 instintos clave. ¿Los conoce bien? ¿Cuán conciente es de su actuar? ¿Los
7 9% 7
Identifique 5 de sus ACTITUDES características. ¿Son estas naturales en usted (casi
8 instintos) o son rpoducto de que ha trabajado en lograrlas. (1 si son naturales, 10 si son 10% 6
10 me conocen
9 ¿Cuán bien cree usted que las otras personas lo conocen realmente? exactamente como 12% 3
10 Cuánto de lo que "sabe de usted" aplica en la práctica? 1 nada, 10 todo 25% 2
Otros temas: espiritualidad, amistades, maestros/gurús, conocimiento necesario, tragbajo con
el equipo interno" ==> cuantos yo's conozco. Balance espiritual, racional, emocional, acción. 100% 5.22
Llamado del héroe. Talentos. LA SOMBRA. Manejo frustración.
Aquí hay un problema de mezclar
B EL ENTORNO EXTERNO DE LA ORGANIZACIÓN
competencias con awareness
11 ¿Cuán sólida es su visión personal del futuro (pais,mundo, industria) a 20 años? 30% 8
12 ¿Cuán buena estima usted es su apreciación de la situación política del país? 15% 8
13 ¿Cuánta confianza le tiene s sus estimaciones de la economía a un año plazo? 15% 8
14 ¿Cuánta confianza le tiene a sus estimaciones económicas a 3 años? 10% 6
15 ¿Cómo rankea usted su entendimiento de la industria en que se ubica y la competencia? 30% 7
Otros temas: redes de información, dieta informativa, 100% 7.5
Aquí hay un problema de mezclar
competencias con awareness
¿Cuán bueno se considera usted en análisis e interpretación númerico de los negocios? 1 muy malo, 10
Cuan bien sabe ver a través de los números.
Liste las 10 compencias claves para un buen administrador, y establezca su propio gap. Un gap muy grande 1,
17 sin gap cero
Cuan claro está su plan de trabajo para ese gap.
¿Cuánta educación formal adicional en negocios cree usted que aun necesita? ¿Cuánto le 10 no necesita mas
18 que la que ya tiene
afecta la falta de conocimeintos que le gustaría tener?
19 ¿Cuán "bueno" se considera usted en el juego de poder de la organización? 10 es un maestro 15% 4
Identifique 6 tipos de ejecutivo/administrador y con cual o cuales se identifica usted. Cuan
20 15% 8
bien sabe que tipo de administrador es usted.
Otros temas: experiencia, fracasos, maestros/gurus, dieta informativa 100% 5.75
Promedio ponderado de las tres 6.16
A broadly used concept in management training
Stuck in a problem?
Liderazgo (Warren Bennis)
Ordenando objetivos anuales
Organization cycles, post symbolic language
El Viaje del Héroe
An alternative approach
Awareness is the result of a personal quest. That quest is started by questions,
and the questions should lead to experiential situations. The classical method
will be to present the participant with a series of questions for starting the quest.
Ideally the set should have about 100 questions, and ideally with the possibility
of some choice. That is not all are mandatory. Part of the exercise is that the
participant should create 50 additional personal questions.
THE TYPE OF QUESTIONS
The sessions will be structured by sets of questions related to special topics,
after a brief introductory class in each case.
I. The internal. Me as a 21st century manager (10 questions). Defining
awareness, reviewing the conceptual model. My own personal
definitions. My own approach to management. What makes me
different in management. Building a knowledge map of yourself.
These questions are rather personal, perhaps uncomfortable. You do
not need to deal with them publicly, but you need clarity about them
for yourself. This is not a therapy there are no “normals” here.
Furthermore non-normal is the competitive advantage.
1. The toughest one: Who are you really? From what angle
do you first approach this question? Is it new for you?
Define yourself as you wish, and then define you as a
manager in this century. Are they compatible?
1. To whom you compare with in management? –if any.
2. In what sense are you unique or would like to be?
3. Define in your own way 7 +/- types of managers. Based on
these definitions characterize yourself either as one pure type of
these, or a combination
4. List 10 strengths and 10 weakness of you, as a manager or
leader (from personal attributes to knowledge or competences)
2. Have you ever found yourself talking to yourself? How
many inner “you” can you identify? Building your inner
team (a PNL exercise)
3. Graph your balance rational-spiritual-emotional-physical,
and your objectives. How clear are you about them?
What tools you use for managing that?
4. How does your couple/family affect your career? Current
5. Whom do you recognize as your leader in life–if any?
6. What makes you trust? What makes you hate?
7. How do you assess the quality of your thinking?
8. Graph, depict, or map, as you wish, your creativity skills
or potential for that,
9. Your own biggest or most important question? Questions
are never isolated. They are all intermingled. One leads
to the next higher level
10. About reality and what do you think really is. What is real?
11. What do you live for this period of your life?
12. Make a map of the stakeholders of your life
II. Zosiac: zoom, side, for action. Finding the scope, detail level, and
angle (10 questions) –a thinking method. Learning to work dis-
associated or associated to the problem. Things are not what they
look like. How? Why?
Dealing with objectivity
These questions deal with methodology. We all do it differently. Be
aware of how do you do it and try to improve it formally. Problem
13. How do you decide the distance or altitude to observe
and define a problem? Track yourself doing that and try
to model your approach
1. The definition of the borders of a problem
2. How assumptions change with distance?
14. What makes you change the point of view to observe and
define a problem? Track yourself doing that and try to
model your approach
1. How does the stakeholder’s map change?
15. Formalize the difference between seen and watching
(listening and hearing), and model how you decide when
to use one or the other faculty
16. If it were for common sense, the sun would still rotate
around the earth. How do you relate to common sense?
17. How is reality affected by knowledge?
18. Can knowledge negate our senses?
19. How do you define what knowledge you need for a
20. How do you map the rules of a situation?
21. How many hats can you use?
1. Handling frustration
2. Dealing with diversity
3. Changing positions
4. Methods of your own
5. What makes you tick?
6. Error of the third type
7. Appropriate attitudes
8. Turn off automatic pilot
9. Information diet
III. The external. Looking at the future, and signaling.
These questions deal with the future and your relationship with it. All
we want is there in the future. We will spend the rest of our lives right
23. Try to make your own definition about “time” –beyond
minutes and years-
24. Model your own way, how does the future affect the
25. Model your own way how the past affects the future?
26. Dealing with events, trends, and purposes: define and
27. What is your information diet in regards the future?
Design such diet formally and change it according to
28. Select the 10 technologies that will change the future in
the next 10 years, 20 years, 100 years
29. Identify the 10 new ideas (from any field) that will change
IV. Crisis, transition, consolidation: time and business strategy
This set deals with the management of time and opportunity
30. How do you define what is short, medium, or long term?
31. In periods of crisis your instincts emerge. Do you know
32. Transitions lead to crises. Do you have a model for
dealing with them?
V. Identifying the “treasure” for your organization or business. Business
model. Value drivers
The map of the treasure is prior to strategy.
33. Track your route you use in order to define a business
34. What does VALUE really mean?
1. What is the ultimate source of value? If any
35. What is really an idea? Where do they come from?
VI. Making decisions.
We all make decisions differently. The ones who succeed are those
who have a systematic way of making them. Know your way,
formalize it, improve it with practice
37. How many types of decisions would you like to
differentiate? Map them out (for instance: forced, rational,
command, consensus, collaboration, analytical,
38. How you measure critical relations?
39. Make a check list of practical questions when in front a
decision (for instance: is the problem well define, do I
have enough information?, why does the problem needs
to be solved? can it be postponed? Are there
contradictions?, What is the essence of the subject?
Why? When etc.. Be as exhaustive as possible. Create a
format and a procedure for your own
40. Tools you master or would like to have for decision
VII. Managing yourself and your agenda.
Managing your own time. Use your previous definition of time here.
Your aim is to do more things in the same amount of time, with the
same or more quality.
41. How complex is your agenda?
42. How rigid is your agenda?
43. How formal do you run it?
44. How distinctive is the way you manage it?
45. How do you measure your own productivity?
46. How far away you usually program activities?
47. How punctual are you really?
VIII. You and your network
The current world is about networks. You are the center of the most
important one: yours.
48. Do you have a model or theory to deal with networks?
49. Do you have a formal database of your relations?
50. Do you have a network design for yourself?
51. Can you measure productivity of such network?
52. Do you spend time in formal networking?
IX. Organizational details and weak signaling. Cycles and character.
53. How could you define a critical human resource in your
54. How many types of leadership can you distinguish? …
and perceive in the organization (classify your peers
superiors, and subordinates)
55. Sources of information beyond the MIS (management
information system) you normally use
56. Can you “listen” the weak signals of the organization?
X. About clients, channels, products: the complex commercial matrix
57. How formal is the commercial matrix being managed in
58. Of course you know who is your best client, but do you
know who will be your next, next, next?
59. Do you know enough about your clients? What else you
would really like to know
XI. The weak forces in management: do you feel them?
60. Identify 5 weak forces relevant in an organization
61. How many of these do you master?
XII. Technology is not the same as machines. Technology for
62. Make your own definition about the difference between
technology and machines
63. How does technology interacts with human?
64. What are the 10 new technologies that will affect your
65. What kind of a leader are you now?
66. What kind of leader you would like to be in the future?
67. What kind of leader you DON’T want to be? What’s the
risk of becoming one of them?
68. Identify 5 types of negotiators. Which one (or mix) are
69. Rank yourself from 1 to 10 as negotiator. What do you
need to improve (if ranked below 7)
XV. Processes: the real key for systematic success
64. Identity the critical 10 processes in your organization
65. Apply the logic: effectiveness, efficiency, adaptability for