The Johari Window is a model created by Joeseph Luft and Harry Ingham in 1955. The model has been used to help people become more self-aware. I was first exposed to the Johari Window in a Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator training session. The model is a four-paned “window” that divides personal awareness into four different quadrants: open, hidden, blind, and unknown
I am constantly fascinated with reapplying models outside their original context as a way to stimulate unique insights that can potentially provide a competitive advantage. I decided to reapply the Joahri Window to the challenge of community branding. I apologize in advance to purists who are more than capable (and would be absolutely right) of pointing out the gazillion reasons my reapplication of the model is fundamentally flawed. But, I encourage you to keep an open mind and just “go with it”.
In this model each person is represented by their own window. In my reapplication, each community would be represented by their own window.
This represents things you know about your community, and others know about your community. The knowledge this window represents can include not only factual information, but the feelings, behaviors, wants, needs, and desires of your citizens. Essentially it includes any information describing what your community is.
This represents things others know about your community, but your community does not know about itself. They can see it, but your community cannot. You have to get feedback from people you trust from outside your community, or from people who just moved into your community to provide you the perspective about your community that you are unaware of and a sense for the impact it has on how your community is perceived.
This represents things you know about your community that others outside your community do not know. This typically includes vast amounts of information. It is the entirety of your community’s story that others have yet to discover. As people get to interact more with your community, the information gets disclosed.
This represents things that neither you nor others know about your community. For example, your community may be sitting on top of a previously undiscovered source of natural gas that can have a dramatic impact on its future economic prosperity. Or there s a capability/asset your community does not fully understand the significance of and is illuminated by a change of circumstances. This quadrant tends to include “game changing” things that make your community see itself in a different light.
Discussion – What’s the Point?
The Johari Window model is all about proactive self-discovery. It gives you a framework on how to think about seeking insights. The emphasis is on reaching out to people you trust to see yourself from a different vantage point. As you become more self-aware, you are in a position to make better choice on areas to improve yourself.
Reapplication of the Johari Window as a way to discover things about your community can yield the same benefit. It will encourage you to seek the perspective of people outside your community and understand their perceptions as well as seeking input from people inside your community. The insights you gain from the process should put your community in a better vantage point to make choices that will improve its attractiveness for capital investment.
Your goal is to make the Open Quadrant as big as possible by purposefully learning and sharing more and more about your community. Self-disclosure makes the Open Quadrant bigger by sharing more about your community and reducing the size of the Hidden Quadrant. Feedback from others makes the Open Quadrant bigger by reducing the size of the Blind Quadrant. Ultimately, you will discover that application of the Johari Window can help you improve the collaboration and communication within your community.
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