The Importance of Reflection
The sun is finally hanging in the sky longer these days, and it feels like summer is just around the corner! After such a hectic, heavy year, this new season couldn’t come soon enough. But here’s our question for you: Have you taken the time to reflect on this past year of business?
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented levels of stress and upheaval to countless businesses across the globe. Now, as companies begin to move slowly but surely toward a new normal, we want to urge you not to skip the very important step of reflection.
Why invest in reflection?
The fact of the matter is that the opportunity for improvement is always present. No company is perfect, and no company should get complacent in its structures, processes, and culture. It’s a good idea to reflect on the past year every year, even when they’re seemingly normal and not punctuated by a global pandemic.
This year, however, is an even more palpable opportunity for reflection and new implementation. Because the pandemic forced businesses to make so many decisions in such a short time, there is sure to be a variety of impacts to be investigated. In fact, many companies are finding that the changes they were forced to make turned out to be positive ones that improved employee productivity and engagement and will choose to keep them in place into the future.
Where and how do you start?
The idea of reflecting on the past year is intimidating — where should you even begin? While there are certainly a wide variety of ways to approach a reflection such as this, there are a few good questions you can ask:
1. What changes did you have to make?
Take a moment to reflect on the previous year — what decisions were you forced to make as you adapted to circumstances, and what changes had to occur?
2. Why did you make those decisions, and on what criteria did you base them?
Evaluating the ways changes came to pass can give you an insightful perspective into the inner workings of your business. Were you satisfied with the way decisions were made? If not, how can you adjust for the future?
3. Did these changes create problems? Opportunities? Both?
Though the decision-making process was likely frantic and uncertain, there are many positive changes that were born out of the adversity of last year. It’s helpful to recognize that change can be good and that struggle can often lead to innovation.
Listen to your team.
As a leader, it’s important to include your team’s thoughts and experiences in your overall company reflection. The perspective from where you’re sitting can be quite different from that of your employees, and it’s imperative to have as much information as possible when you make decisions for the year ahead.
One of the most prominent discussions of last year was that of remote work. Many employees found a renewed sense of engagement, freedom, and job satisfaction when given the option to work from home. Others experienced a lack of motivation and a deep sense of loneliness. The moral of this story is that some companies soared, while others struggled profoundly — the only way to thoroughly evaluate this is by listening.
Perhaps a company-wide meeting is in order, or individual surveys could be distributed. No matter how you choose to collect information, it’s important that you listen to and acknowledge what is being said.
Who knows what you could learn, and what processes could be transformed?