Knowing me, knowing clients

Why knowing your colleagues, clients or stakeholders is only half of the equation

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By Liza Chong

In the past few weeks, months, years we’ve been building up our investment funds and growing our capacity as investors — in this process we’ve learnt new terminology, regulations, and industry best practice to understand what framework we’re working within.

As part of getting to know our investors and our founders, the process entails a lengthy ‘KYC procedure’ (kay-why-cee stands for “Know Your Client” ). It’s got me thinking about how this might correlate to a personal leadership checklist because is it always about your customer? Can it be other things that guide us personally and professionally?

If we’re expected to “Know Your Client”, there might be other important reminders that ought to be included in the checklist before one is able to provide a great service to one’s colleague, customer or stakeholder.

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the other “Know Your’s/You’res” that help guide me when making choices or prioritising to keep top-of-mind.

Know your ‘why’
Simon Sinek’s way of thinking about your ‘why’ isn’t only a good guiding frame, it defines your central core and reminds you of what’s important and meaningful for you. Deviating from this can be easily done, so it’s helpful to be reminded why you’ve chosen this journey and why it matters to you. In the end, it’ll be the thing that guides you through good and bad times.

Know your context
We’re often treading in places where the rules of the game may be different, knowing your context makes you astute to different places and points of view. It helps to understand that you’re dealing with different cultures, belief systems, values and customs. Having an empathic view of these differing and even opposing views makes for a better understanding of other people’s ‘why’s’ and what makes them tick and how best to serve them.

Know your craft
This is about understanding how you’re building up and mastering your skills and finding the way to express yourself through your craft. This is the YOU, you want to share with the world — your unique identifier that just gets better with age as you grow with lived experience, and even better when you size-up with other people who’ve different skills to find the best way of creating together.

Know your limitations
Being aware of what your own abilities and strengths are is always helpful, but knowing what your weaknesses are can be even more critical and helpful for knowing how to ask for help. Doing everything is not the ultimate goal, it’s so important to trust that someone else could be better than you, ensuring that you have an open-mind for diverse inputs, so knowing your limitations can be your strength in order to learn from other people, and let others lead.

Know your footprint
You’re not inconsequential. You do have a footprint and you’ll make your mark for good or for bad. Be aware of it and know that you’re responsible for those footprints, for other people, for yourself and for life that you cohabit the Earth with.

Know you’re biased
You’re in the process of learning, unlearning and relearning — you may not reach answers immediately but whatever you learn is your pathway to wisdom. We’re all conditioned with beliefs and perceived truths, and you’ll be making choices and decisions based on your own lived experience, that doesn’t make it the truth for other people. Be aware of it.

Know you’re human
There are things that just won’t work for you — understanding and owning your vulnerabilities, failures, insecurities and shortcomings is such a big part of you, and it’s ok not to feel OK. Self-care is being honest with yourself as well as recognising and making space for the things that make you feel inadequate.

Knowing your customer, well enough to know how to serve them as best you can, will most often start with knowing you, and being the honest and balanced version of just that.

We celebrate people, from far and wide, who use design to change the world. We call it #designtoimprovelife

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