Wow. 2016 has come to an end, even though it feels like it was summer just a few weeks ago. It is that time of the year again when most of us make new year’s resolutions about becoming better persons, creating new habits and setting new personal goals. But I can’t help looking back at the past year and wonder where all time disappeared. What new year’s resolution’s did I decide on last time? Did I really do all those things I promised my self?
How come new habits only last a few weeks and how come our new personal goals doesn’t feel that important after all, a few weeks or month into the new year? I think a very good reason for that is that we are missing out on one of the most important components of making improvements and creating new habits – reflection.
How often when making new year’s resolutions do you actually reflect over and review the past 365 days? How often during the past 12 months did you stop for a while and reflect on where you have been and where you are going?
All too often we forget to reflect on our life situations, how we perform at work and what we can do different in the future to get closer to our personal as well as professional goals. That is why we fail, over and over again.
But it’s not only with following up on our new year’s resolutions that we forget reflection, there seem to be similar challenges for organizations too. I know this because our company Prindit has helped several companies over the past year to improve productivity and innovation capabilities, using analytics. We provide a service that measures the real-time status of different success factors that are scientifically proven to improve productivity and innovation capabilities, and help companies improve based on data-driven insights. One of these success factors is – you’ve probably figured it out by now – reflection.
Reflection is the one factor that sticks out the most in a negative way, and also the one factor that leads to the most discussions when we talk to the teams. It turns out that most employees don’t have time for reflection at work on a weekly basis and, if they do have slack time in their calendars, it is not used for reflection.
What does this mean for an organization (or for your own personal success for that matter)? Well, if we don’t look back at what has been done and how it was done, we can never improve our working methods. If we don’t have time to question how we perform our work, we cannot come up with new alternative solutions. Can we really get better, faster, more productive and more innovative if we always do what we’ve always done in the same way that we always have?
The answer is obvious.
Reflection is a vital part of systematic improvements as well as innovation. If you and your organization want to improve in any area, you should add systematic reflection on a weekly basis as part of your weekly routine. So why not start now, straight away?
Here’s a useful model of reflection that you can use in pretty much any area, whether it concerns your new year’s resolutions or improving performance at work, borrowed from Rolfe et al. (2001):
What is the situation?
What are you trying to achieve?
What actions did you take?
What was the response of others?
What were the consequences?
So what does that teach you?
So what were you thinking and feeling?
So what other knowledge can you bring to the situation?
So what is your new understanding of the situation?
Now what do you need to do to improve things?
Now what broader issues need to be considered if this action is to be successful?
Now what might you do differently in the future?
Now what might be the consequences of this action?
A suggestion is to use this reflective model together with a friend, partner or colleague, so that you can support each other in the process. Remember to write everything down in order to follow up on your progress continuously. Good luck!
Get in touch with me at Johanna@prindit.com if you want to learn more about reflection and how it can improve performance and innovation capabilities in your organization.
Wishing you a happy new and productive year!
/Johanna Tömmervik, CMO @ Prindit