Research shows that taking time out to “review, reflect and re-interpret” taken for granted knowledge and experiences is integral in improving work performance in the long run. In the working paper “Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance”, the authors show how reflecting on what we’ve done teaches us to do it more effectively the next time around.
Take a moment to pause and reflect on an experience that you may have had recently; a conversation with an upset customer; a management meeting that you were facilitating; a sales meeting or a performance review conversation that you were leading.
It is true that as adults, we learn more effectively from direct experience. However, experience alone is not the only key to learning. Rather, the need to review, reflect, rethink and re-interpret taken for granted knowledge and experience is integral in improving our work performance. When we stop, reflect and re-think our conversation with that upset customer, or review our management meeting in line with the criteria that we originally set out , or reflect on what we did well in the sales meeting and what we could do differently next time to yield a more effective outcome, what we are doing is asking ourselves pro-active, fresh and useful questions which is an essential quality in our professional development and improved job performance over the long run.