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Sample Category - 14-12-2023 - - 0 comments
You're wiser than you think

This week, a fellow facilitator asked me to share with her any insights & resources I have around Leadership models for a conference we will co-facilitate. As I collated resources for her I found my own "Secrets of Successful Transformation" Leadership Model that I had drafted a few years ago, shelved and forgotten all about.

It took me a while to place the work. Whose was this I wondered? It looked really good... I finally remembered that it was me that had pulled it together in a flush of free capacity and enthusiasm for creating a course. I then got busy and it fell by the wayside.

This got me thinking about the power of reflection.

It seems to me major problems of today that we are all battling, personally or in teams

  • balancing the urgent vs important
  • generate income now vs generate value that brings income later
  • avoiding proliferation of content
  • duplication of effort
  • losing focus

A primary antidote to these issues is reflecting regularly.

Scrum calls this a retrospective, one of the 5 pillars of scrum. Yet few teams do this regularly, nor do many people - me included by the way...

The kind of reflection I'm talking about - key questions we can ask ourself:

  • What were we trying to achieve vs what have we worked on
  • What were we hoping to achieve vs what is the outcome
  • How is the flow of work
  • How does it feel to work together (in the team of with those we collaborate with)
  • What's good/what's helping
  • What's causing friction in the flow

I notice it is only the highest performing teams that have established team retrospective practices, where each team member takes the time to reflect before a group discussion.

When we take the time to reflect, there is so much of our own wisdom we can tap into. Patterns, problems and solutions become obvious.

If we are retrospecting as a team, what so often happens is together we realise where we are on the same page, in it together. We harness the value of our different points of view and perspective.

As I've been thinking about this, I realise there is two parts to the problem.

First is making the process visible - e.g. journaling or capturing team stats.

The second part is actually taking time to pause and look back at what's been happening and what will help us speed up or get better going forward.

Personally, I realise I've never really been much of a journal writer. I've journaled in fits and starts. My longest streak of daily consistency lasted about 4 months and helped lift me out of a slum and get super focussed and motivated.

I stumbled on journal entries I made in a couple of workshops I attended back in 2016, 2017 when I was thinking about a career change, considering coaching...a diary I kept in 2006, 2007 in the aftermath of a painful divorce & business failure as I forged a new life.

I realise I wrote them and got value at the time from doing this, but didn't really ever go ack and read them.  Literally no part 2 at all for me.

When I got brave and re-read these journals, I've been surprised by how coherent they are. What seemed at the time like jumbled thoughts make sense. From where I stand today, I see the connections, the clear threads back to the thoughts I captured back then.

So knowing how powerful journaling can be, realising the power of reflection - why don't I do it?  What lessons for us all might be uncovered here...

Asking myself this question, I think its daft....I worry that someone will find my writings and I'll feel deep shame. I worry that what I've written, my inner most thoughts won't stand up to scrutiny. I worry that I'll realise I'm stupid, that none of what I've written will make sense, that I will be confronted by my ‘crazy'.

Fear is often irrational and is dispelled by rational consideration.

Powerful questions we can ask ourself:

  • What am I really afraid of?
  • How likely is that to happen?
  • What do I need to do to protect myself?
  • What if the opposite is true?

In the team context why don't we often take the time for retrospecting, reflecting? What might be some of the pressures we face?

  • In a world that is obsessed by speed, taking time to reflect can feel slow.
  • When we reflect, we hold a mirror up for ourselves which is a place of vulnerability.
  • Particularly when the pressure is on, we can be defended, armoured up. In a work environment, where politics abound, vulnerability is difficult and may not be at all welcome.
  • The more, more, more, demands placed on us, the politics and pressure of our working environments, armour feels somehow safer than the strength of a more human vulnerability.
  • It's just easier in the moment to JFDI, keep calm and carry on and just focus on getting sh*t done.

Yet this is what keeps our individual and collective performance limited.

If we want better, we have to change. We have to find ways to make it feel safe enough to reflect just enough to help us.

Working with a team recently, who had a high pressure, high performance, mistakes are not tolerated culture, they made it feel safe enough for them by coming up with a funny ‘safe word' to signal the need to talk about something everyone might find difficult about the way they were working together.

Looking ahead to 2024, personally I've decided I will no longer be controlled by my less than conscious fear of being crazy.

I have formally scheduled a half day each quarter to reflect, to retrospect:

  • Using the questions I noted above.
  • Also taking time to go through my G Drive / DropBox /iCloud and declutter
  • Consciously recognise the valuing in taking the time to curate my resources

I'm reminded of the Henry Ford quote:

Do what you've always done and you'll get what you've always gotten.

So for 2024 I'm going to identify 4 things I'm going to do differently as I walk the path of mastery on my mission to excellence in this lifetime. This is no 1.

I'm curious if you've read this far, what's come up for you around this topic of reflection?

Is it possible to be truly excellent without vulnerability?

Do you see an opportunity for yourself to do something different in 2024 that will help your individual and/or collective performance?


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