#TLDR: The value of reflection is well known, but what to reflect on? Your focus area makes a big difference!
Multiple studies and research articles talk about the value of reflection on the quality of your professional and personal life as well as the effectiveness of your professional self. At #PBJAM, we place a high value on #selfreflection as well. In this post, let's explore some nuances of the practice of reflection that help improve the effectiveness of the process.
Reflection is a key to learning from the past and improving our future. In professional life, reflection is a key ingredient for growth, engagement, and satisfaction. Though simple in concept, reflection in real life is difficult. It is easier to focus on the present and future than to analyze and reflect upon the past. There are two types of reflections that are critical for a high-performance workplace, namely, individual reflection and team reflection.
For individual reflection, PB JAM recommends penciling in calendar time slots as frequently as possible (5 minutes daily before leaving the office or 5 minutes daily before starting work is ideal). When you are part of our 12-week "Better You" program, you will benefit from our daily reminder emails that come with hints around self-reflection in light of your SMART-steps. You can also schedule a 5-minute meeting with yourself every day (though it is difficult to protect the 5-minute slot from daily fires!). Two questions to ask yourself daily are:
What brought a smile to my face yesterday?
What would I do differently if I got to live yesterday again?
Yes, keep this simple for it to succeed and sustain. Take notes every day and try to review them once a month or so for a monthly summary (You will be amazed how many things happen in a month and how many you have already forgotten!).
For team reflection, PB JAM recommends first making the team aware of the need to reflect. Yes, many times the reflection activity becomes a chore that doesn't add any value to the group. Here are some warning signs that should prompt the group to reflect:
Feedback on group activities is not real-time nor very useful
Group is discussing failures more than successes
Successes seem rare and more heroic than coming from the structures and processes
If your group answers yes to at least two of the above statements, it is time to start the group reflection activity. Here are the questions that the group should discuss:
What worked well over the past week/month/quarter?
Which assumptions do we need to modify for the next week/month/quarter?
Are we missing any skills/strengths to help us succeed?
Again, keep the process simple and short. Keep notes on the group working area (MS Teams, Slack Channel, Common email thread, Shared Drive, or anything that works for the group). As you notice, we do not recommend focusing on work deliverables, but rather on your approach and strengths. Your work deliverables as a group will keep changing, but your group capabilities are steady. If you can boost your capabilities as a group, you will succeed (better, faster, cheaper).
What has been your experience with reflection, both self-reflection and group reflection? What works for you? What have been your challenges? We love to hear from you, so post your comments!