Taking time to reflect is a great thing to do both for your business, and for yourself. Reflection pauses us from our constant busy do-ing, and makes us stop and think about how the do-ing made us think and feel, and whether there was something to celebrate or learn from the reflection.
There are many ways we can take time to reflect both by ourselves and with the input of others. In today’s session we go over why taking time to reflect is a good thing, and some specific techniques in relation to reflecting on reviews, 360 degree reviews, post implementation reviews and SWOT analysis.
Disclaimer – All information provided today is general in nature. We do not know your individual circumstances, so seek advice for your situation from a trusted advisor.
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S2 Ep31 Taking time to reflect with Jane Tweedy | FAQ Business Podcast
00:00 The importance of taking the time to reflect
Today I want to talk about the importance of taking the time to reflect. You’ve heard me mentioned before that a fail is a first attempt in learning. But it’s only a first attempt in learning if you stop, reflect, and look for the learnings that were gained in that process.
00:21 Reflect even if the outcome worked out okay
If the outcome goes okay, maybe you got by the skin of your teeth. Sometimes you can forget to stop and reflect, and actually take that learning out of that exercise. I’ve seen a couple of cases of this recently, where the person thought, oh my gosh, disaster’s happening, and then something happened and it got fixed.
00:42 Reflect on the learnings
But take the time to learn. Otherwise you will actually learn the hard way the next time. So today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast is about looking at the time to reflect.
00:53 FAQ Business Podcast introduction
Welcome back to the FAQ Business Podcast, and again, I am your host Jane Tweedy. Today we’re going to talk about the importance of taking the time to reflect in a number of different ways across our businesses.
01:50 Do a SWOT analysis update quarterly
Now one way we can do this is through a SWOT exercise. And I do recommend you do your SWOT analysis on say a quarterly update basis. So do it once, and then each quarter pull it out and give it a bit of a refresh. Because there are things we’re going to have learned in that time, or challenges we’ve faced that we didn’t know we had an issue with.
02:10 What does SWOT stand for?
Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. And I always do mine with what I call a like and dislike overlay. So particularly what we’re looking for here, are things that we love doing. Like doing, and that we’re good at. They’re the things we’re going to market in our businesses. The things that we are weak at, and we dislike doing, they’re the first things to get out that door, when we’re looking at what we can outsource or delegate. So that’s why a SWOT analysis is super important. There is a blog and video on my website about that, and I will share in the description.
02:50 PIR – post implementation review
What about when you do a change? You implement a change, or you undertake a project? Always complete what’s called either a post implementation review or a project implementation review. In other words, a P I R. Definitely make sure you take time to celebrate any successes gained. And sometimes we can forget get to do this. And particularly if we have staff members, it is really important that we lead by example, and we celebrate success. It really boosts morale when people feel good about what they’ve achieved. If we only focus on the bed, converse will happen. We’ll be making it really bad for morale and it’s not a good leadership quality.
03:37 Reflect on the project learnings
But we also want to look at the learnings. What did this project implementation not do well. What could we do differently next time? Could we have communicated better? Could we have done something differently? Could we have brought people in at different times. Look at all the things that went right and wrong. And make sure you acknowledge them, and work out a path for how to make sure that we repeat what we did well, and we stop what we didn’t.
04:04 Formal and informal ways to gather feedback
Also look for informal and formal ways that we can gather feedback and gather that information that helps us to reflect. An obvious one here is reviews and feedback. So if somebody leaves you a one-star review, don’t freak out and flip out. Calm down. Look at it rationally.
04:25 Feedback from a bad review
For example I had a client recently and she said to me that she got left a one star review. There was five great things, saying how great a trainer she was, how much they learned. All these are great feedback. But the person also then had a bee in their bonnet, because the person was late. The trainer was late, and the person that had come on their day off. So they were already negative about being there on their day off. And then on top of that the person was late and the person found that they were having their time wasted. Even though they said overall, the training was great.
04:58 Remove the emotion and look at the fact
So the thing is this person said, ‘ Oh, gosh. They left me a bad review.’ But the thing I said to them was yeah, but there was something to learn from that. How could you have done things differently so that you were on time next time? She was going to a new premises. Okay. If you’re going to a new building you’ve never been to before, allow extra time. There was Covid protocols to go through. Again, allow extra time. So all those sort of things are things that we can learn from the past things that we did. So make sure even if you’re frustrated by the fact that the review is probably overly harsh. Or the rating in that case was overly harsh, still make sure you stop and look at it, and look for the actual things you can learn from it.
05:42 Respond to every review – the good, bad or ugly
And like any review, please make sure whether it’s good, it’s bad, or it’s ugly, make sure you reply to it once succinctly, politely, acknowledge the fact they’ve made a review, and then provide some factual, not emotional response to it. And we will be having some sessions on this in our online school coming up soon.
06:03 Ignore the emotive part of the review
You’ve got to remember too, that people’s feedback and reviews can be over the top and emotive. So sometimes we just need to kind of push that aside, and make sure we focus on the pieces that are actually relevant to the situation.
06:17 Ask for feedback regularly
If you’re holding sessions with people, ask for feedback. Be open and listen. Ask for them to say something they learned out of the session. Ask for them to say something that could have been done differently. Always ask for feedback. Sometimes there is an automatic generated feedback afterwards.
06:33 Sometimes may need to ask as well as the automated review
But sometimes the person that’s speaking or delivering or providing the service doesn’t actually receive that feedback. So sometimes it’s good to just ask for that feedback separately as well. It can feel a bit much on the person. So just make sure you’re not pushing them too far. But at least that way you’ll gather some intel and some information.
06:53 Unsolicited feedback is usually not welcomed
Understand the difference between things like constructive criticism and unwanted feedback. I know it’s a bit of a job hazard sometimes to try not to give unwanted advice or unsolicited advice.
But for instance, the other day, there was a post a lady put up. And it didn’t just have a single typo in it. It was like every single line had typos, capitalisation in the wrong place, grammar errors. And one line was literally unreadable. It hurt. I was like, I cannot decipher what this means.
07:28 Feedback can help you look better to other prospective clients
Now for me, I’d actually received from somebody, some feedback about one tiny typo in a Calendly invite. But I’m grateful to receive that, because then I can fix it and it makes me look more professional than if I put something out with errors in it. So I’m more than happy to receive that feedback and that advice. Some people, however, will take that badly.
07:49 In this case I felt saying something outweighed saying nothing
But in the case where it was a lot, it was like, it really made the person look unprofessional and I would rather them know that they’re looking bad. Than to have people just drop off. So you’ve got to pick and choose where you do that. But for the most part, don’t give unsolicited advice. And yes, I need to start listening to my own advice on that one.
08:13 Get staff to do reviews of you
If you have staff, then I always suggest getting staff to do reviews of you. So not just you doing reviews of staff, but get the staff to do reviews of you as well.
08:24 If you have teams – 360 degree reviews
In addition, if you do have a team, I would strongly suggest using 360 degree reviews. Particularly if you have an issue with a staff member and they are feeling that they just been picked on by their manager, it is much better to get a team review.
08:39 360 degree reviews can be useful where an issue with a team member
An example of this I had, was a guy on my team. He was really not up to scratch. To be honest, we’d hired him knowing he wasn’t. But it was a case of we absolutely needed the bum on the seat. We thought we could get away with his strengths, and offset his weaknesses elsewhere, but unfortunately he had some more weaknesses we didn’t know about.
08:57 Allowed him to see how others genuinely saw him
The problem was, he was getting praise every day from one particular team he was dealing with. They didn’t actually know what they were looking at. And so their responses to him, the way that they were treating him, was making him think he was awesome and amazing.
And then the team around him, that immediately worked with them. All had issues with him, but no one would say anything. Then you had a team of high profile people, that he respected a lot. And it was when he got their reviews back. That’s when he really understood. Hey, there’s a problem here.
These guys think that I’m incompetent when actually he had an attention to detail problem. And this is where sometimes when you do these 360 degree reviews, you’ve got to help the person to navigate them.
09:47 Help the person navigate their review
For instance, I had a lady one time, who had a really bad 360 degree review. Because her team and everyone around her, everyone had given the feedback, found her attitude really negative. And because she had a negative and very brash attitude. It really clouded people’s opinion of her.
10:06 She did work hard but her attitude clouded their answers
And so to the point where they would say, if the question said, does this person work hard? They’d go no. And both her and I knew that was not the case. She worked really hard. But the problem was their view of her was so clouded by that negative, that they just couldn’t see the good and the strengths in her.
10:24 The review initially made her angry, till she took the time to reflect
So initially she was angry. Of course she was angry. They have just told her that she sucks basically. And she knows that she doesn’t completely suck. So once she got over the anger issue, she was able to look at the feedback and reflect on it, and actually go, okay, what can I pick out of here that I can actually make a difference in my life. And she did. She took it on board and she made some changes.
20 years on now. She’s a high flying corporate role. She had to have that learning back then, and that learning set herself up for a great future, because she took that time to reflect, that time to actually acknowledge and respond, and that’s made all the difference to her career.
11:07 Time log reflections
Another thing that we can do, is when we’re doing our time log activity, which I’ve talked about on the podcast and in the Tea Time Tip. That we look back on the activities that we were doing. We reflect back and we go, I was spending 50% of my day doing emails. Is that really worth my time?
11:23 Ways to make changes based on your reflections
Can I offload some of that? Can I put in templates and things to avoid any repetition. What can I automate? Can I delegate? And when we’re thinking of delegation, we can break it into two sections. The things that I can delegate easily and quickly, and the things that I could delegate, but I’d need a lot more time and a lot of training.
If there’s a lot of time and training involved, you really have to be more thoughtful about who you’re delegating that to. So sometimes we would hold off.
11:53 General reflection on self and business
What about things like reflecting in general? A really good thing to do is to journal, and to reflect on your gratitude at the end of the day for instance.
12:04 Can help reframe and shift your energy
Because this sort of thing can help you to shift your energy and reframe your day and your mind. I know, for instance, I did a bit of a reflection exercise when I was setting boundaries. And I did a podcast about setting boundaries and I realised the podcast wasn’t as much about setting boundaries, as it was really doing a bit of review on what was bugging me in my own business.
And it’s also helped me realise when I looked back on it, because I was sharing that particular episode with someone, that my recent nominations for the Local Business Awards. I was actually quite afraid to go and ask people to vote for me, because I felt like I wasn’t delivering, because I hadn’t delivered in some areas. And it wasn’t till I looked back at that podcast, I realised, wait a minute, here, I’ve still delivered a lot. I’ve still showed up here on the podcast every week. Okay, some like this one are a little bit late, but hey, I’ve been there every single week, despite what’s been going on health wise in my life.
13:06 Reflect on the good and the bad
So it is really important that we stop and smell those roses, and start realising, what, things aren’t as bad as sometimes we might think they are. I actually realised that I needed to reflect on some of the things I was doing rather than the things I wasn’t doing as well.
13:23 Reflect at the time to make your most productive time of the day
Now remember also we did a podcast on the most productive time of the day. Now for some people, getting up and doing an hour of power and journaling and doing gratitude and stuff first thing in the morning is a good thing. However, if you’re not a morning person and you’re extroverted, that could actually be counterproductive. So make sure that you journal, you reflect, you do your gratitude at a time of day, that suits you. That could be on a lunch break. That could be at the end of the day.
13:50 Could end the day on this simple reflection exercise
In fact, a good way to end your day could be to note three good things that happened today, three learnings that happened today and three things you are grateful for. By doing this small little exercise, it can help us to reframe and change our mindset, and restart us into a much happier, positive outlook on life. Where we’re not just looking at those negatives. But we’re also looking at those positives.
14:18 Reflection is super important in coaching
.. which is what I’m involved in as well. If we are too busy doing. We don’t spend time thinking about how we think, and how that makes us feel. And therefore we’re not identifying that cause and effect. So I would strongly recommend that sometimes you pause and reflect. Why did I do that? Was there some thinking behind that, that caused me to act that way. Could I change that? Could I alter that?
14:48 Sometimes we need to call it quits to focus on something better for us
And sometimes that could lead us to go, you know what it is time for us to call it quits, go back to corporate. It doesn’t mean we’re quitting. It doesn’t mean a negative thing. It means we’re ending something, because we can see something better on the other side.
15:02 Taking time to reflect is important
So make sure that you take the time to reflect. Taking time to reflect is so important. And I hope this podcast has reiterated to you why there is so much importance in taking the time to reflect. Thank you for listening in today. I’m Jane Tweedy from the FAQ Business Podcast.
15:23 Thank you for listening to today’s episode of the FAQ Business Podcast
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Today’s podcast episode featured our host Jane Tweedy. Her details are as follows:
Jane is a Professional Certified Coach with International Coaching Federation (PCC with ICF), business advisor and trainer. She loves working with growing small to medium business owners who are doing the right thing, to help them do it right! Currently, Jane offers at least 50 live sessions a year to train small business owners.
Jane offers a variety of services to clients and her online school and membership site went live late 2021. Jane’s focus for 2022 is building the membership and online school out further, and offering implementable small group training – something she finds is often the missing link.
If you are interested in training, speaking, or anything else Jane has to offer, please connect via firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact forms on our websites.
faqbusinesstraining.com.au – our main site with a great blog
faqbusinesstraining.com – our new online school
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