Leadership Series - Part 2


How Do I Raise My Lid?

This is the second in a series of posts that tackle the most misunderstood and under utilized skill in business environments. Leadership is influence and the difference between being good and great.

Reflection


There are several things you can do to help raise your Lid. And, one of the best things you can do is to value your experience with Reflection. Reflection is probably the most underutilized tool in our society today because it requires thinking.

Thinking through your experience is critically important to refining your approaches and getting better. It's the equivalent to purposeful practice, in that your brain doesn’t know the difference between an experience in reality or an experience in thought.

A 2010 survey of 1700 white collar workers revealed that on average employees spend more than half their workdays receiving and managing information rather than using it to do their jobs, suggesting that we spend less time actually thinking and more time just rearranging information in our minds.

HOW DO I REFLECT?

In the past I would take time to reflect every month. At the end of each month, I would reflect on what went well, what didn’t go so well, what I could do better, what I wanted to do, what I was able to accomplish, and everything that I wanted to accomplish.

I asked myself lots of questions. Hard and sometimes uncomfortable questions.

Through reflection, I realized that I was just pushing things from one month to the next. I was getting caught up in the day-to-day activities, or spending too much time on one particular project when I may have only allocated a certain amount of time to get it done that month. I was spending too much time on it, and that means that other things I planned to do for the month were pushed.

It doesn’t add value to the experience if you keep pushing things from month to month. Through reflection, I was able to spot this trend, and I realized that I have to do something different. So, I started reflecting on a day-to-day basis.


The power of reflection lies in really looking in your past to create your future.

When we reflect, we ask questions about what happened in the past, or in particular, we ask questions about what we did yesterday, how was yesterday, and could I have done yesterday better. The insight within the answers to those questions is your preparation for tomorrow.

So, there’s something that you didn’t do so well - you make a note of that. And, maybe, you’ll have another similar situation coming up in a week or two. You’ll be prepared for that. You might realize that you were able to get everything that you wanted to get done yesterday, but you were up all night. You have to find a better way to be more efficient, or spend less time on those tasks.


By looking at yesterday, you can prepare for tomorrow. That is where the power of reflection adds value to your experiences.