October 22, 2009
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18 years of work and dozens of seminars on effective working practice and management, yet only recently have I started practicing reflective working! A few years back, I was telling a dear colleague and mentor that I had grown tired of working for the sake of working; that I often questioned why I was in a certain meeting, what purpose I really served in the team, wondered who benefited from my work and why I worked a certain way or didn’t! I wondered if others reflected on their days.. did they ask themselves whether a certain meeting was more important than time spent at home with their kids? Could an activity be done in a more efficient manner if they included colleagues? He told me….
إذا أردتَ أن تعرفَ مقامك، فانظر فيما أقامك
Loosely translated, that means to know your place with God you must reflect on what you do and work on. Since that conversation, I have grown accustomed to taking stock of my work day, week, month and year. While that hasn’t “fixed” a problem.. it has provided a tool that allows me to learning from mistakes share my vision and knowledge, dare to experiment, challenging group-think, and become far more aware of time wasting activities.
Most work environments don’t facilitate reflection. The collective momentum to move in a certain direction, office layout, background symphonies of rapid footsteps, ringing phones, speedy typing, anxious conversations, aired frustrations forces one to keep to the beat. But above all, the primary factor standing in the way of reflective thinking individual recognition of its value. Knowing and acknowledging that on a long and windy road, one has to stop and look at a map.