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Progress through reflective practice
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Reflective Practice

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Like most individuals, organizations fail to hit the mark exactly as envisioned, on a regular basis. The pace and complexity of our world mean most projects are filled with moving targets. Teams do their best to plan and anticipate setbacks, largely based on prior experience. In some instances, a team will fall completely flat and land nowhere near the target. This is typically because the team does not engage in reflective practice.

We All Want Success

No one gets out of bed hoping to perform worse today than yesterday. The way to move forward is to do more of what’s getting us positive results and to correct what’s not working. Improvement occurs as we identify areas of success and opportunity and make adjustments that will get us closer to the intended outcome.

Reflective practice is a process of deliberately pausing, scrutinizing the details of our progress or an outcome, and determining future actions. This process works for individuals and teams. To be effective, there must be a commitment to improvement and the reflective practice itself.

Make Reflection a Priority

Scheduling the pause is one way to ensure reflective practice is prioritized. For some individuals, reflective practice is built into their daily routine. This keeps both progress and specific outcomes top of mind, so learning and adjustment is continuous. For teams, intentional reflection might occur on a quarterly or weekly basis. It might also be scheduled after all major team events or projects. This type of regular reflection following the completion of specific activities has been adopted by various organizations and might also be referred to as After Action Review (military), SWOT Analysis, Autopsy (Collins, 2001, Good to Great), or Project Post-mortem. The key is to develop a timing and process habit that makes reflective practice most effective for moving individuals and teams to higher levels of success.

Reflective Practice in 6 Steps

Plus/Delta & Why

A plus/delta tool can also aid in reflective practice. When using this tool, it is important to ensure you capture WHY each factor is a plus or a delta. The why is critical in deciding the best next steps.

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