Why is reflection good for an organisation?

The pandemic has forced many of us to have spend more time in the company of the voices in our head.  With less stimulation from an office environment, socialising, weekend breaks and holidaying we have been left with a lot of time alone and our immediate housemates.  There are countless stories of what this thinking and reflection has done for each of us in the media from leaving the job that makes us miserable to discovering the joys of a simpler life through family, home cooking and Netflix.

It is clear that self-reflection can have a profound impact on how we see the world, what we do in the world and ultimately change the way we behave (hopefully for the better).  Life that’s in alignment with what you want, your environment and your integrity feels great.

So how can an organisation ‘self-reflect’ and gain the same level of impactful insight and wisdom that will rocket-fuel change and improvement in a business?

Outlined below are our top five tips on how to successfully reflect within an organisation

1. How do you know what to reflect on? 

The first place to start is always with the recurring issues or problems that are a sticking point in the organisation. This could be a lack of repeat customers, to customer complaints about cold chips, to sales decline.    You can always identify a recurring problem when it has slipped into the ‘too difficult’ file which just gets accepted as ‘the way it is around here’.

Examples we have worked with include how to solve the problem of customers not getting served in order at the bar because the barman is too frightened and overwhelmed to look up and look at the sea of waiting faces?   Or how do you clear the unacceptable levels of litter on a bus at 4pm Monday to Friday at school closing time before the busy rush hour begins? Or how do you reduce wait times at lunch time for high quality food to attract the 300 people who work in the local office blocks but who only have 50 minutes to order, eat and pay?

In a nutshell the recurring themes are the ones that you need to reflect on!

2. How do you create collective self-reflection? 

The brilliant thing about collective reflection is that it is essentially getting a whole load of brains to look at a situation and consider solutions.  The skill is not in making one voice stronger than another but requires speaking to customers, the team, suppliers and anyone else who might have solutions for the situation you are looking at.

When you have everyone represented ‘in the room’ then you can then reflect on the whole ‘system’ and what needs to change that will meet everyone’s needs.

Doing the hard work to gather the opinions in an objective, open-minded, open-hearted non-judgemental way and then presenting the findings without a bias is essential to create a common ground that all parties can then focus on.

In other words, you need to share a common understanding of the situation before you can begin to reflect on what the solution might be.

3. Creating sustainable reflection 

The problem with reflection is making it sustainable beyond this moment.

So in a café for example, the decision to change a way of delivering service to customers as a result of a time and motion survey  will only be sustainable if you measure customer feedback afterwards.  Without a feedback loop, the change will remain a great idea that was badly executed.

The feedback loop is also essential as change always needs adjustment whether that be a new haircut or a perfect cheese toastie.  Without the feedback and adjustments to the original idea you never get the chance to see the full potential of a new innovation.

We see this in the online research communities we run for our clients including St Austell Brewery and P&O Ferries, where their customers suggest a new approach which is then embraced, delivered by the team and is reviewed again by customers.  It works a treat and means the speed of decision-making and service improvements are accelerated which has an impact on customer experience and revenue.  AND the business is in a constant state of customer centric evolution!

In a nutshell using the immortal words of Tom Peters “what gets measured gets done”!

4. When reflection is pointless

If the leadership in the organisation are prone to procrastination and like to endlessly debate the same subject, then encouraging more reflection is not a good thing!

However, if procrastination is borne from turning over the same facts or thoughts about a situation, then the solution to the problem is gaining a different perspective.  The different perspective should ideally come from the people you serve as well as the people that serve!  See point 2!

5. Rocket fuel your reflection

 All reflection is increased exponentially by employing an expert who can challenge your thinking.  This can be personal therapy for inciting self-reflection or a research consultancy like Aviatrix to rocket-fuel an organisation’s ability to reflect.

Helen sums up the impact of the work that Aviatrix does “We have only one agenda – “how to improve the experience of customers in order to create a sustainable, profitable business” so we will doggedly look for the answers to that question by asking customers, the team or the board.  The key is to then tell the story of what we have found that creates the compelling need to reflect and change.”

If you would like to do some collective self-reflection in your business please call for a discovery call so we can help you plan.

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Here at Aviatrix, we start with a Discovery Call or Meeting. This is when you share what you are hoping to achieve with your market research. We can then put together a tailored approach to your project – to help link what you want to achieve with the methodologies, which will give you the best feedback and insights.

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