It is important to have a series of structured practices that support an overall Orientation to Growth, a primary of which is self-reflection.
We do not learn from experience … we learn from reflecting on experience. — John Dewey
The value of thoughtful, regular reflection is self-evident. Self-reflection allows us to synthesize, abstract, and articulate key lessons from our experience; indeed, it is the dual process of doing things and then reflecting on them that leads to growth.
But how, organizationally, can we encourage self-reflection?
One way is to give some structure to make it easier. A natural structure that arises is the Unfolding process: for each person to ask themselves at each natural break point (for example, at the end of a project, or sprint, or quarter): “In this context, what were my greatest strengths, and what is the most straightforward way to leverage those strengths. And in this context what were my greatest weaknesses, and what is the most straightforward way to address those weaknesses?” Another way to frame the Unfolding process in this context: “What went well, that I can celebrate? What didn’t go well, and what can I learn from that? And what would I like to focus on for this next stage.”
Another way is to encourage regular self-reflection is to offer support for it. For example, each person may have a mentor, or multiple mentors, with whom they can discuss their self-reflection. However, in doing so, it’s important to make sure that compensation or roles are not tied to the self-reflection; to be authentic, the self-reflection should be solely for the purpose of individual growth.
Encourage regular self-reflection, by suggesting that people follow the Unfolding process at regular intervals, and by offering support for them to do so.
In the context of self-reflection, it is useful to include a reflection on progress towards self-set objectives (Vision, Strategy and Objectives). One may choose to share one’s self-reflection with others in asking for feedback (Continuous Feedback).