Welcome back to the Business Excellence Article series. The summer here in Sweden has been wonderful for all of us enjoying sunny and warm weather. The summer is also a good time to reflect on things. It is good to be able to relax from the day-to-day race where you might not have the time to reflect.
Many people run so fast in the maze that they have a hard time keeping up. The only focus that they have is to get things done and then continue with the next activity at hand.
I read an article during the summer stating that leaders of large companies now start to understand the power of reflection. The reflection has always been a part of my work and teaching as I over and over again talk about the Deming circle, or PDCA wheel. PDCA stands for Plan – Do – Check – Act, and it is a way to be better every time you do something, as you learn from the results and do it better next time.
You should always reflect (the Check in the PDCA) in order to improve. If you do not think about what happened and what you did, then it is also hard to improve the next time you are about to perform the same, or an equal, task.
A lot of the European countries have fairly long yearly vacation (four to six weeks). And as many countries are far north with harsh weather during the winter, the vacation is taken during the summer period. This means that people are away from work for a couple of weeks. During that time, they have the opportunity to think things over, both at work and in their personal life.
Some large life changing decisions are made during this period. People are more interested in changing job after a long vacation. The reasons for changing vary and are a subject for another newsletter. The interesting thing for this article is that the reflection gives the urge to change and hopefully improve.
We need to use that force and to make the reflection something that is a natural part of every day. I suggest that you make it a habit to reflect in the end of every day and every week.
What did you do well and what could have been done better? What do you take with you to the next time you are in the same situation, project or process?
If you are responsible for a team or a business, I also suggest that you make it a habit that the team reflect every day, every week and after each project and/or a process.
Make sure that you create a solid way of collecting the things that come up during the sessions of reflection. Do that for both those things that you yourself noticed in your personal reflection and those things that you notice within your team in the team reflection.
Also make sure that those things are lifted into the next planning phase. Otherwise you will have a hard time to convert the knowledge into action.
I find it important to create the possibility to have an on-going continuous reflection, than waiting until we have a longer period away from work.
If you think that you do not have time to reflect now, then you need to make time. As long as you do not reflect and learn from it, you will find yourself not having the time. You will then keep on getting the same result as you get today.
Reflection is the basis for the improvement, and that is what winners and the successful does! Make sure that you are one of them. Good luck.
To you and your business excellence!