Sustainable leaders reflect regularly. I am challenging myself today as much as I hope I'm challenging you. There is definitely power in taking the time to reflect on how effective we are or have been. However, the discipline to do so has somewhat eluded me over the years. Like all of us I am still on a leadership journey and this area is one that I'm wanting to improve in.
This I do know. It's healthy to stop and pause as we've discussed previously, but it's even better to stop pause and reflect. At the centre of this reflection is taking the time to ask yourself the pertinent questions. This is not about self-reflection with a critical spirit. That can be a minefield for those of us who lean towards a desire for perfection, which can lead to paralysis by analysis. I'm talking about a balanced time of self-reflection. That’s where we assess what went well and what didn't go well, and what we could put in place to improve. We're all on an “action-learning cycle”; the engine room of any strategic journey.
When we are in positions of authority, accountability and transparency maybe a little limited, so we need to provide some of that for ourselves. If this is done in a constructive way, being honest with ourselves, being aware of our strengths and weaknesses, then it can be a productive tool to help us grow as individuals and leaders. I know some people who do this daily with great effect.
Certainly, sitting down at the end of the month, looking at what you have achieved, looking at what you planned to have completed, and taking the learnings from that, will help you do better, and be more effective. One thing I have wanted to do and have seen others do, is take time a block of time away every year, to plan ahead, but also to reflect on the past year, it's inevitable successes and failures, and lessons to be learned. Bill Gates has made this practise an epic part or what allows him to be so productive and harness that great intellect for the greater good. If he finds it necessary to reflect regroup and go again, then I think it is self-evident that it would be helpful for us to do likewise. I’m going to take some of my own advice. Will you join me and take time to reflect. It will make you a more sustainable and effective leader.