Action and reflection

Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.  — Peter Drucker

gearsI recently had a conversation with one of our college administrators about advice she received as a new leader. One of the tips that stuck with her over the years is the necessity for reflection and strategic thinking.

As leaders, we all know how easy it can be to get caught up in the day-to-day work and not pull back to take a deep breath and look at the big picture. Here are some tips that can help.

  1. Plan reflection time into your calendar. If you have a big meeting coming up, schedule time to strategize. What are your key goals? Who do you need to talk to? How can  participants prepare to make the best use of the time?
  2. Find a space for reflection. It can be helpful to physically get away from day-to-day demands in order to spend time planning and thinking about the big picture. You may need to visit the local coffee shop – and leave your cell phone behind!
  3. Stress the importance of reflection with your staff. By consistently treating planning time as a “real” hold on your calendar, you will model the importance of strategic reflection for others on your team.
  4. Build reflection into the team culture. Make reflection and analysis an expectation for how the work gets done. For example, discuss lessons learned after major projects are completed, or ask reflective questions in one-on-one meetings with staff.

How have you been able to find time for planning and reflection?

Dee Anne Bonebright

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