Strategic insight of the Johari Window

I’ve been thinking about the strategic insight that can be gained through the Johari Window*file-page1

The Johari Window is used to improve interpersonal communications and team work.  It was developed by and named after psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955 (Joe + Harry =Johari).

One idea behind the Johari Window is that we all have blind spots about ourselves that we want to diminish.  Reducing these blind spots requires seeking out feedback from others.

We also have information about ourselves that we hold back from others or that they are not aware of just by interacting with us.

The Johari Window provides an opportunity for self-awareness and trust building by asking us to be more forthcoming and transparent as well as soliciting feedback through a process of self-discovery.

Sounds like a great organization strengthening tool, doesn’t it.

Understanding the Johari Window provides insight on how our organizations can be more strategic.

And more effective.

It strikes me that the Johari Window can be useful when applied to our own organizations.

Here at Cause & Effect we preach the importance of seeking information outside of your organization.  That involves staying up-to-date on what is happening in your field, understanding societal trends, and having critical knowledge about what is happening in your community (at whatever scale you define community).

Yes, some of this can happen by being an informed consumer of the news and professional journals. Other parts of this need to come from listening to your supporters and other critical constituents.

Having these conversations is firmly embedded in our work in strategic planning and fund development. Every once in a great while we get talked into short changing this process and regret it immensely. Why?

Because not only are these conversations wonderful ways to engage your constituents, you and I actually learn stuff that matters to your organization by seeking out their experiences and wisdom.

Important stuff.  Strategic stuff. The kind of stuff that is a foundation of intelligent opportunism, one of the five bedrocks of strategic thinking.

Strategic Insight of the Johari Window worth discovering

In the worst and rarest cases, you might discover truly incorrect or damaging information floating around about your organization or its people.

More likely, you’ll find that despite your ongoing communications, very little of your message is being absorbed.  Knowledge about your work might be very limited.

You may discover how limited your own knowledge is of what’s happening in your field or your community.

Most importantly, you can discover what matters to other folks in their personal or organizational lives.

With this information in hand, you’ll be able to reflect on how well you are delivering value to your constituents.

And what you need to do differently to matter more.


*There is much more to learn about the Johari Window. Here’s an excellent read:

And for ideas on who to get started, see

Stop Talking to Yourself

Nonprofit Strategic Planning: Where to involve your board

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