Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.
– Peter Drucker
As we become more comfortable with our thoughts and the thinking process itself, we become more self-aware. But self-awareness in itself doesn’t create change. We need to consider those thoughts, our actions, and what is happening around us. This is reflection, or hansei in the lean world.
Reflection can be both an individual and a group activity – in fact it is perhaps more commonly takes the form of project reviews, post-mortems, or even an evening conversation between spouses after the kids have hit the sack. However individual reflection can be even more powerful. In any case there needs to be some core components in order for it to be effective. Reflection should be a regular, defined event. Plan it. Formally consider what the plan was and what really happened, and think about the gap. How could the activity have been improved? What can be done in the future?
Schedule time to reflect on your day, your project, and your family. Perhaps on your commute home, in the evening with your spouse, or as a formal end to a project. What did you want to happen, and what really happened? What contributed to the gap? What will you do differently next time?