High Performance Begins With Self-Awareness

How over 15 million people in thousands of iconic companies are doing it.

Don Johnson
6 min readMar 16, 2020


Photo by Shutterstock

What do LinkedIn, Dropbox, Pret A Manger, Audible, Danone, Philips, Merck, Heineken, Shell, Astra Zeneca, Indeed, Nike, 3M, and Energizer have in common?

Leadership Development — but not in the way you might think. Nearly every company has some form of leadership and employee development programs. However, there are two critical elements of an effective development program smart organizations recognize, but other businesses often fail to implement.

1. They know that for people to perform at their best, they need to develop self-awareness. Practically speaking, this means understanding their communication style, personality type, strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots.

2. They realize that self-awareness only fulfills its real purpose when used actively and intentionally:

  • in the spirit of service
  • to honor and respect differences
  • to flex and adapt situationally
  • to create a climate of inclusion, trust, and engagement

Understanding ourselves but not utilizing it is like buying a new car and leaving it in the driveway.

Effective self-awareness programs integrate these two principles. Organizations like those mentioned above and hundreds more include this approach in their leadership development programs.

I know this because my colleagues and I have worked with all these companies.

True Story: Avoiding Disaster

How self-awareness in action saved a company millions.

The CFO of a well-known small tech company wakes up and checks his morning email. He reads a message from the CEO.


How are you? Please transfer 1.5 M from account A to account to B right away.


As John gets ready to do the transfer, he re-reads the note and thinks something isn’t right. Miriam doesn’t say things like, “How are you?” when she writes an email.



Don Johnson

Author | Meditation Teacher | Advocate for Kindness, Respect & Freedom | Human Potential Coach | Connect with me here: www.bemoreconscious.com