Passion primer for leadership

In our strategic growth planning and organizational design work with leaders, we have completed projects ranging from community planning to revenue-building project management to redesigning teams to achieve clearer organizational and operational objectives in a wide variety of for-profit, nonprofits and government organizations.  One thing remains true – consistent change and momentous growth endeavors are only achieved to the extent to which optimistic, influential and trustworthy leadership is present.

Leadership Is Everything

When trustworthy leadership is not present to the extent required for the task at hand, its void is masked with clichés such as “there is a lack of communication”, “there is too much going on”, “there is too much complacency”, “people aren’t motivated”, “the job isn’t getting done”, “I’ll just do it myself”, “we lack focus” -- and perhaps the truest – “I wasn’t aware.”

The form and function of leadership has the capacity to move people to achieve positive change or blow up a meaningful project beyond repair.  Positive, intentional, change-making leadership does not authentically exist without self-aware leaders. 

Ironically, most leaders who we have encountered are largely not self-aware.  And the few, most influential leaders who we have worked with unequivocally are the most self-aware leaders we know. 

We believe achieving any real and significantly impactful level of self-awareness is perhaps the most difficult challenge of being human.  It is far too easy to slip into unconsciousness and not see the intent or outcomes from our own actual behavioral patterns – and good or bad -- we all have them.  More so, without knowing why such patterns exist, we will always be mostly unconscious. 

Unconscious leadership is an epidemic in our country and it is dangerous.  The result can range from unintentionally hurting and misguiding others to scheming narcissistic plots to outsmart others in divisive, controlling ways purely out of insecurity and the fear of not being able to achieve success any other way.   


Some of our favorite quotes reflecting the importance of being self-aware are:

“Self-awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities.  I don’t mean self-consciousness where you’re limiting and evaluating yourself. I mean being aware of your own patterns.” ~ Tony Robbins

 “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ~Aristotle

“Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to one’s awareness of one’s ignorance.” ~Anthony de Mello

 “Without self-awareness we are as babies in the cradles.” ~ Virginia Woolf

 “Self-awareness is our capacity to stand apart from ourselves and examine our thinking, our motives, our history, our scripts, our actions, and our habits and tendencies.” ~Stephen Covey

 “It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.” ~E.E. Cummings

Steps Toward Courage

Given that most leadership problems are driven by low self-awareness, Insight’s work is mostly meaningless without more self-aware leaders. We get things done because we intentionally strive to understand how people tick.

Therefore, Shelley has developed and administered the Insight Passion Primer – An Introductory Leadership Development Encounter with leaders for over twenty years. The tools, steps and their sequence are intentionally designed for a leader to learn about his or her traits and patterns, develop self-improvement goals, and communicate the learned awareness and goals to his or her leader, mentor or peers.

This process supports the development of the necessary critical thinking “mega-skills”, including the ability to think, write and speak to one’s own awareness and development. It is the practice executed by the most centered and respected leaders. This style of approach has scientifically been proven to connect mere ideas to the reality of achieving intentional success. Without such internal processing and external expression of one’s awareness and intended goals for leadership development, goals will falter, and in the saddest of circumstances, well-intended momentous goals will go extinct.

Therefore, if a ‘ready for courageous acts’ attitude is not the incoming intention of this process, it will likely not be worth the time and energy.

The Art and Science of Interpretation

The elegance of this process allows the leader to complete proven assessments and understand the results in real-time by sharing one’s story without judgment or predetermined assumptions about assessment results.  Assessment results are not reviewed and analyzed ahead of time. The leader and facilitator will confidentially follow a process of answering interview questions and reviewing assessment results together; connecting one’s story to a deeper meaning and manifestation of patterns behind the results.

Session 1:  The facilitator and leader will privately review five assessment results which the leader will take online prior to this first session. In session, we will explain the purpose of the process, complete a leadership interview, review the assessment results and review the activities to be completed for the next session.  Questions about background, triggers and motivations will be included.  The leader will leave with his or her workbook to read the assessment reports and to complete the activities provided in the workbook for the next session.

The five assessments include the DiSC, ProfileXT, Kolbe A Index, Kolbe B Index, TKI.  These are proven, internationally- recognized assessments independently provided to Insight by various third-party vendors.

Session 2: In this session, the leader presents to the facilitator his or her workbook activities and asks clarifying questions about the assessments. Together, we determine next steps for leadership and career development goals.  This work evolves to be a very specific action plan for meeting leadership, organizational, team and personal objectives.  We gather the information from the activities and develop a presentation that the leader will deliver to his or her direct leader, mentor or peer team members regarding the results and what was learned through the process.  This presentation will entail an overview of assessment results (presented by the facilitator), including strengths and how the leader naturally operates.  In this presentation, the leader will share the outcomes including a 12-month leadership development plan.

Session 3:  This session is conducted with the facilitator, leader and his or her direct leader, mentor or peer team members.  Together, we will gain alignment about the leader’s strengths, improvements, goals and action steps required to optimize his or her role and achieve a next level of leadership results. The leader will also share the types of support that he or she needs from leadership and the rest of organization to be successful with the plan. 

The Intended Acts of Courage

What is the difference between confidence and courage?  ACTION.

The intended outcomes of this process are the following for each leader who is truly engaged in the process:

  • Understand one’s individual relating, striving and thinking abilities. 
  • Identify strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Define specific leadership development goals.
  • Communicate self-awareness learning and development goals with direct authority figures.
  • Commit to a clear action plan for leadership development, team engagement and self-fulfillment.
  • Identify a system for ongoing accountability and reporting to the action plan.

Timeline:  This overall process is best completed within 60 days of contract engagement.