SCARF is useful as not just self awareness tool, to help individuals understand their own behaviours and what impacts them, but also useful in understanding our impact on others, and how other peoples needs in terms of within a social context may differ from our own. This is a nice way to introduce the fact two brains being alike, and how we all differ as humans, and relevant at all levels within an organisation.
SCARF is has five domains based on David Rock’s research of the brain. The domains are Status – where you stand vs other people around you, Certainty – what is your need to have clarity vs living more ambiguously, Autonomy – your need for independent working Relatedness – the need of having close and personal relationships and Fairness – ensuring that the give and take in a situation is of the right balance.
SCARF is a relatively easy model to understand and apply. In a sense SCARF gives us the broad parameters on how a persons brain is functioning and therefore help understand certain behaviours. There is no right or wrong SCARF model, it is about who you are and in that sense helps broaden the scope of application even more. Leaders may use it for leadership assessment, team building, recruiting, developing talent or even retaining talent.
I have written a critical commentary on how the SCARF model can be applied to employee retention. To better understand which domain is causing a person to be demotivated and disengaged or even to resign helps a leader to have a deeper conversation. Instead of assuming that someone wants more pay or to be promoted, this conversation gives a deeper understanding to a persons mind at how it may work. The SCARF model helps a leader pinpoint the domain that may be triggering the response to want to leave the organisation. An understanding of the model will also help in having regular one on one conversations with employees to keep them engaged and involved instead of it being once off at the time when an employee
Kalpana Sinha is a Leadership and Organisation Professional. Her blog has reflections from her work experiences of over 20 years.