Why understanding yourself helps your company

Understand yourself and your value, and you can do more for your company, says James Barrass-Banks.

Reading time: 3m 30s.

In my first article I wrote about how to understand your audiences effectively and the real benefits of doing so. This gives you a strong starting point. The next step is to understand yourself, your department and your business. Why? So that you can recognise where you can best meet the needs of your audiences and where you need the support of others.

It will also serve to identify new opportunities to further help and develop those around you in line with business goals and strategic alignment.

From a company perspective it’s important to understand what goals the company is moving towards and your role in contributing towards them. This can be particularly pertinent when understanding which goals are going to be tough to achieve as often support from you can help increase the effectiveness of a team so that they meet their goals.

This is especially important when that goal is profit with ATD finding that companies with formalised training programmes had a 24% higher profit margin.

Further, I would challenge you to develop an understanding of the company’s competitors and what they do differently. Does this present an opportunity for you to upskill staff? For example, some marketing agencies use project managers as account managers.

If your team is able to diagnose a problem before it happens you become the forward thinkers and the safety net of the company, increasing your value internally.

The benefit to the client is that these account managers can give realistic timelines and better manage their client’s expectations around delivery dates as they are actively involved in the process. This results in a more satisfied customer who feels fully informed.

Within the department take stock of the skills people have and those that they want to develop, taking time to understand how they align with business needs. It’s also important to understand the weaknesses of your team and areas where you are using external suppliers.

Whilst doing this ask questions around the status quo, investigate other resources, tools and technologies within the business and the way different departments work.

By matching the previously developed pain points to your now comprehensive understanding of yourself you can accurately identify both opportunities and gaps. The understanding of company resource and technology can help you resolve some of those.


This is a relatively simple concept I admit, but it is also vital because when someone is not properly trained the results can be disastrous. If your team is able to diagnose a problem before it happens you become the forward thinkers and the safety net of the company, increasing your value internally.

One example of where it went very wrong was nearly 10 years ago when Eurostar was the centre of a social media maelstrom (you can see one customer tweet here) and a PR disaster when 1,200+ passengers were left without light or heat on two stricken trains in the north of France.

The way that this incident brought up such a storm can be broadly divided into two categories.

  • The lack of communication with their customers, agencies and staff
  • The continuation of other marketing activities during this period

With greater awareness of suppliers and knowledge gaps across the organisation the first category could have been prevented with the correct training. Customer services training here would have been invaluable.

This example is burned into the brains of marketers across the world and led to the implementation of social media policies, further adoption of crisis management strategies as well as social media handles being dedicated to customer service such as National Rail and Amex.

Eurostar has clearly learnt from it’s mistake and having travelled multiple times with them I can say that my experience has been positive with them, even when there has been a problem.

Looking to the future there is a rise in the demand for mental health training with MIND reporting that 48% of a 44,000 survey had experienced a mental health awareness problem at work. This presents a new opportunity for L&D professionals and a new gap that needs to be addressed.

By seeking to understand yourself and your organisation it allows you to deploy your resources effectively so that you can reduce time firefighting and increase the amount of time spent thinking strategically.


About the author

James Barrass-Banks is a digital consultant with a thirst for knowledge and a love for growing & developing people. You can read more insights on his blog here.



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