Reflection - One step back, two steps forward

Today’s workplace environments are dramatically impacted by the effects of globalisation. Business operate faster and are more technologically advanced, cultures are more diverse and knowledge is continuously produced, adapted and shared. ‘Keeping up’ with these demands of modern day work requires us to increase our tempo and avoid slowing down, so we don’t fall behind.

Instead of constantly multiplying the pace of work, however, research from the Harvard School of Business has put forward a more efficient practise. In essence, the research suggests that the process of gaining knowledge from experience is increased when coupled with deliberate ‘learning by thinking’. One way of achieving this is through reflection. Reflection is ‘careful thought about a particular subject or task’. By reflecting on newly gained information, performance on the job is increased. According to the researchers, this is due to a better understanding of the demands we face and a heightened belief in personal capability, or ‘self-efficacy’ . Taking a moment from our fast moving daily lives puts us back in our role of homo sapiens and allows us to not just succeed, but to also excel in what we do.

The importance of reflection for organisations becomes apparent through such research. Individuals who develop better knowledge and understanding gain more experience and are therefore instrumental to the prosperity of any organisation. Through the work of Jayne Stevens from Montfort University several types of reflection can be distinguished, all aimed at developing specific knowledge on gained experience. For instance, one might focus on the action event and outline its specifics as to define different roles, actions and situations. Alternatively, reflection might be directed at understanding different people’s perspectives, or by doing an analysis of a situation by comparing the application of a new idea with that on an old one. Finally, reflections may be used to evaluate experience to determine which actions went well and which need improvement for future application.

At DC Workplace Consulting we believe strongly in the power of reflection. It is why most of our current programs involve thorough reflection as a core part of the services we offer. We help people within the workplace develop better understanding of their actions and those of others around them. Ultimately, we aim to provide the necessary tools to perform effectively within our workplaces and gain insight in how to become the best version of yourself.

Noah Ferron