Thursday, May 24, 2007

What do you find is effective to promote reflective thinking in the workplace?

Q. For this purpose, reflection is taking the time to examine past or current situations and applying the learning to a particular action in the present time or future. Some examples of methods of promoting reflection are journaling, coaching, discussion groups, after action reports, and retreats.

A. In many workplaces, for much of the time, quick, knowledgeable responses are encouraged in a convergent process that tends to quickly exclude possibilities in an intense search for quick answers. All this is in the name of 'saving time' which, because of the poor quality inherent in this form of communication rarely occurs. This kind of conversation is most useful in a directive environment where the goal is implementation of something that is routine.

On those occasions where learning and creative solutions are desirable, suspending judgment permits a divergent conversation, a dialog that embraces all elements that emerge. The process of doing something other than judging exposes an idea to the more intuitive mental processes. We start to reflect.

This kind of dialog becomes possible when people are ready to learn about themselves, have no expectations for their own or for other's performance and replace a sense of urgency with relaxed confidence that a useful outcome will arise. When they are at their most effective, coaching, discussion groups, after action reports, and retreats each support these same qualities.


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