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Enhancing performance lies in helping employees to be aware of who they are and what drives them

18 June 2021
By Allan Miller, Managing Director, IMX International

How can you make an impact as a leader on the performance of your organization, especially in a time of crisis? Part of the answer lies in ensuring that your human resource (HR) managers are taken seriously and have the tools at their disposal to make the best decisions for your biggest resource, your people. This article introduces the notion of self-awareness and existing tools to measure talents and non-talents, and to help individuals find what makes them successful.

Take HR seriously

Everyone agrees that talent is what separates a good organization from a great organization. However, in many organizations, human resources – the team in charge of managing and developing talent – get less respect than other core business functions. Your HR manager should be the first person invited to boardroom meetings. Only by understanding the organization’s operating plan will he or she be able to align HR strategies to set objectives. HR also plays a key role in reinforcing the corporate culture, transmitting the company’s concern for employees, and communicating in a more transparent, fluid and people-oriented way.

The importance of soft skills

LinkedIn recently ran an article about interpersonal skills, highlighting the fact that executives may not realize that soft skills, also known as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills”, are where the biggest imbalance is. It reported that Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, cut back on his production expectations after automation efforts failed, and said: “It turns out human beings are underrated.”

LinkedIn also ran a survey on the critical skills gap over 2000 business leaders, which identified these four skills as critical to a company’s performance:

  • Leadership,
  • Collaboration,
  • Time management,
  • People engagement/communication.

Why are some people more successful than others

At Innermetrix UK Ltd, we conducted a seven-year study on what really drives individual performance and success. We looked at 75 PhDs and 900 consultants who are specialists in helping people develop and thrive – in total, 197,000 individuals across 23 countries.

Of course, defining success can differ, depending on background and culture, and it may not be all about money. However, two major qualities came up that can explain why some people are considered as being successful and others are not:

  1. Self-awareness, that is, your level of awareness for your natural “mental” talents, in other words, the particular way you think and make decisions.
  2. Authenticity, that is, how “true” you are to your greatest natural talents, how well you incorporate them into what you do and how you do it.

Being authentic to your self-awareness is the key to your individual excellence and to defining what your success could be. People who consider themselves as successful share the attribute of self-awareness. They are acutely aware of who they are and what drives them, and as a result, they are able to recognize those situations in which their intrinsic values can lead to success. They also understand their limitations. Because they know what does not inspire or motivate them, they can avoid those circumstances where they recognize that their inherent values will not be conducive to success. People who understand their natural motivators are far more likely to pursue the right opportunities, for the right reasons, and get the results they desire.

People who consider themselves as successful share the attribute of self-awareness. They are acutely aware of who they are and what drives them, and as a result, they are able to recognize those situations in which their intrinsic values can lead to success.


How can HR professionals help their employees to achieve better awareness? By developing their profiles using the WHAT, WHY and HOW triad. The WHAT corresponds to talents, in other words, how an individual thinks and makes decisions. The WHY corresponds to values, that is, what drives and motivates an individual in life. The HOW corresponds to behaviour, that is, how an individual does things and uses their talents.

Let’s stress that there are no “good” or “bad” profiles. The objective of the method proposed here is to identify how an individual can be his or her most authentic self, and to show that person where they are adapting their behaviours. We have developed three indexes in order to help individuals to find their WHAT, WHY and HOW, and to help them maximize performance and find what makes them successful.

The Attribute Index – the WHAT

The Attribute Index is based upon the work of Robert S. Hartman, a philosopher, professor and business person who pioneered the science of values (“axiology”) as a field of study. It is used to measure the way in which a person thinks and makes decisions, to help them understand their soft skills. It identifies an individual’s dominant and secondary way of thinking, and then his or her potential blind spot. This understanding translates into the ability to quantify a person’s aptitude in the various capacities that are measured.

A few examples of some of the 77 competencies that are measured include the desire for self-improvement, role awareness, attitudes towards others, attention to detail, practical thinking, problem solving, results orientation, persistence, sense of mission and personal drive.

The results are critical to understanding why a person can engage with people, systems or tasks easily or not, and identify why in certain situations there is cooperation, and in others there is not. The Attribute Index also identifies how best to manage that person.

The DISC Index – the HOW

The DISC Index is based upon the lifetime’s work of William Molten Marston, who mapped out four quadrants in a person’s behaviour. The DISC Index is used to measure a person’s observable behaviour in both natural and adapted environments. A person’s natural style is seen when they behave naturally, when that person is authentic and true to themselves. One is stress-free when operating under a natural style. This style brings out the maximum potential of a person. A person’s adaptive style is shown when they feel that they are being watched. Prolonged exposure can lead to a person’s becoming stressed and less effective.

The Innermetrix DISC Index measures four dimensions of a person’s behaviour:

  • Decisiveness – measures problem solving ability and ability to get results,
  • Interactiveness – measures interaction with others and show of emotion,
  • Stability – measures pacing, persistence and steadiness,
  • Cautiousness – measures preference for procedures, standards and protocols.

In summary, it measures “How” a person will go about their work and personal areas. The tool makes it possible to understand how to communicate with this individual and how not to, what is his or her ideal environment “behaviourally”, and what is the best form of training style or methodology for that person. The DISC Index can be used when hiring a new employee to understand their compatibility, what motivates them, their communication skills, and whether they have the temperament for the job.

The Values Index – the WHY

The Values Index combines the seven dimensions of value discovered by Dr Eduard Spranger and Gordon Allport, and is used to measure what really drives an individual, what their values, beliefs and personal interests are. This knowledge enables a person to achieve improved performance and satisfaction through better alignment between what they passionately believe, and their daily actions and interactions.

Seven dimensions of motivation are assessed:

  • Aesthetic – a drive for balance, harmony, beauty and form,
  • Economic – a drive for financial or practical return on effort,
  • Individualistic – a drive to stand out as independent and unique,
  • Political – a drive to possess power, control or influence,
  • Altruistic – a drive for humanitarian results and service to others,
  • Regulatory – a drive for order, structure and routine,
  • Theoretical – a drive for knowledge, learning and understanding.


A personal debrief session is organized at the end of every assessment, during which results are reviewed in detail with the participant. You must qualify as a Certified Innermetrix Consultant in order to use our assessment tools and build your employees’ profiles.

These profiles will help you identify their thought processes and give you an insight as to why they make the decisions they make. They help you to better understand employees’ behaviours and why this might impact “how” they interpret and engage with task(s), people and problems. Finally, they help you find values, beliefs and personal interests, and underline the factors which drive individuals to do what they do.

If you would like a test drive on a journey of self-discovery, just get it touch, using the contact details below.

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