USE REFLECTIVE LEARNING TO WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
by Team Pinnacle
Once a project has been completed, we can be guilty of moving on too quickly to the next, without taking the time to reflect on all outcomes, both positive and negative. Yes, efficiency matters, but if we focus too much on moving swiftly to the next project, we fail to allow enough time for reflection, which is critical for learning. Taking time to step back and reflect on actions, on the results of those actions, and on our expectations can equip us with important insights.
I believe that undertaking any reflective learning for a project should be an ongoing process – don’t wait until the end. Reflection is most effective when we repeat the reflective process again and again for a series of projects. As a result, a lot of reflective models are circular – following an experience, we reflect on it and identify learning and actions that we can feed into future experiences. Conducting mid-term reviews will enable you to react to challenges quickly, to make effective changes and to capitalise sooner on positives outputs.
Reflecting repeatedly over a series of short-term experiences is not the only way to gain extra value from the reflective process. We can also reflect over longer timeframes to identify things we may have missed, like trends or opportunities for learning. Having some distance from the experience itself can also ensure we are able to reflect on it objectively.
Any learning gathered in one area of an organisation can readily transfer across the business and add value in multiple ways. Reflective learning should not be conducted in silos, it should be holistic. I would suggest collaboration between different departments, along with independent counsel, in order to review more critically. A fresh perspective can be invaluable and with independent advice, businesses can challenge thinking, ask tough questions, and form an unbiased and impartial point of view.
It is also important to be transparent about any mistakes made, in order to feedback constructively and inform your approach going forward. This will aid future planning and allow you to put in place mitigation strategies to reduce errors occurring again.
When it comes to determining value, spend can be calculated against reflective learning. This can identify areas for growth and areas of cost. It can also help to ascertain if you have the best supplier in place for your needs, or whether you should seek to appoint new partnerships, or renegotiate current ones.
Another positive aspect of reflective leaning is its use for training, generating product or service improvements and accessing new markets. It can provide your team with an opportunity to share their accomplishments, struggles, and even moments of uncertainty, encouraging them to share knowledge and experiences with one another to create a culture of shared learning.
In doing so, they become aware of the skills they have developed along with those that require refining. This will inspire them to become more invested in their learning opportunities, the goals they work towards and the activities they pursue in getting there. They could even become your internal champions.
Reflective learning has the ability to empower, inform and even redefine processes. It gives to you the chance to establish an automated process that identifies each impact (good & bad), puts a value against it, assigns an owner and outlines a realistic timeframe. Over time, this will reduce risk, mitigate unnecessary costs, (including third-party and human resources), strengthen internal learning systems, and provide a platform to celebrate success.