+ 44 7702 274426 jamie@fittingleadership.co.uk

23/04/2021

Take time to reflect....

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It is important to take time to reflect on how you and your practice are doing. If you do this then you are able to consider whether or not you are heading in the right direction both at an individual level and as an overall practice. This enables you to consider if you are making progress with the plan, to make adjustments where necessary or to change the plan entirely. Progress is also a major motivator for people. Reflecting and looking at progress can show individuals what has been achieved so far. It inspires and engages people. In such a fast moving world where everything is changing so fast it is really vital to do this. If you don’t, you can soon find that you have gone completely off track, you are not focusing on what is important and that you are not being the leader you want to be. 

There are also some psychological principles around why reflection is important. In general, psychologists refer to System 1 & System 2 of the brain. In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman describes these 2 different parts of the brain and how they interact with each other in great detail, affecting how we make decisions. Both systems are crucial. 

System1 System 2
Fast Slow
Effortless Effortful
Unconscious Self aware
Automatic Reflective
Reptillian Human
Uncontrolled Controlled
Associated Deductive
Skilled Rule following


It is important that we are able to make quick decisions almost automatically and it is also crucial that we can step back and review in order to make more considered decisions without the bias of system 1. With our lives being so hectic and running a practice being so busy it is easy to say that I don’t have time to do this but you end up making decisions based too much on system 1. By not doing this you are running a real risk of making poor decisions, carrying on down the wrong path and missing an opportunity to motivate yourself and your people.

I love the phrase fast and slow as I think it can be expanded to….. take some time to slow down and reflect in order to move ahead with confidence and speed. If you know you have taken the time to reflect then you can make a decision and do it putting everything into what you have decided to do without worrying unnecessarily about the result as you know that you will reflect on this at a later time and adjust again appropriately if necessary. It can free you up to make decisions, put everything into the choice you make and know that you will review this again.

The question then is how often do I need to do this? This creates a kind of cadence to the business and to you as an individual. It feeds into your overall planning and running of the practice. 

It makes sense that every year you take a full step back to look at the overall strategies for the business. Do a full review of these strategies and challenge if they remain relevant. How have you performed for the year in executing these strategies? What has worked? What hasn’t worked? What progress have we made? What do we need to change?

Every three months you can do a quarterly review that isn’t as detailed but ensures you are heading in the right direction. It can also be a great time to give a single point of focus for the upcoming 3 months for everybody, irrespective of their role to know that this is the number one priority for the practice.

A monthly review for the overall business during the year enables you to see the progress against the plan. It is slightly different in nature in that you are more making sure that progress is being made in line with the agreed plan and keeping a broader view to ensure that plan remains the right plan. It is a bit like being a great rugby player or football player. You know what is going on immediately around you but you are also able to have a vision of the broader environment and adjust appropriately.

You can also break this down further to a weekly and daily basis. You take less time as you break it down further. So, you take 30 minutes to an hour to review the previous week and look forward to the following week, giving you clear focus for the week ahead.
You can then take 5 to 10 minutes each day to reflect on the day and look forward to the following day. All the time this also enables you to check in and ensure that everything you or your team are doing are focused on the strategies you have agreed and not going off in different directions.

Along side this it is extremely important to reflect on your own behaviours as a leader. This is an opportunity in particular to see whether or not you are living your values. Are you living your values and being the person you want to be?

Please add your comments and thoughts on the above article and engage with the broader community.

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