When was the last time you took a step back from your work and asked yourself the question, 'what have I done to add value to the business this week?' Maybe it was a month, six months, a year ago - perhaps you've never thought about it. Regardless, the importance of regularly asking yourself this question could be the difference between you progressing or standing still.
We all lead busy lives in this fast-moving digital world, and it's easy to get stuck in an autopilot mode - losing sight of where we are going and what our destination is. Self-reflection is key to progression and ensures you stay on course with your own and company objectives.
Otto Guth, a highly successful transformation specialist, appeared on our Progressing Lives Everywhere Podcast, hosted by Andrew Beard - Associate Director at Amoria Bond. Otto has led successful transformation projects in numerous industries, including manufacturing, supply chain and business services, helping underperforming businesses return to profitability. Being no stranger to the strategic transformation of business processes, Otto raised a key talking point for this article's inspiration.
When speaking to Andrew about transforming businesses, Otto said: "One of the first questions that I put forward is the question: 'what did you add as value to the company in the last week?' Be precise. Are you aware of exactly what you're doing, or is it just keeping up business as usual? I mean, business as usual is certainly not the way forward for the future."
To get out of the 'business as usual’ mindset, you should begin asking yourself this question every week.
Replace the 'old school' appraisal process.
Within the workplace, it's necessary to have appraisal processes in place to encourage progression. For example, in most businesses, at least twice a year, you probably meet with a manager, department head or designated trusted colleague to reflect on your individual or team performance over the last six months. Here you will set goals to be completed before your next review.
As Otto mentions, his progression tool "replaces the what I (Otto) call old school appraisal processes. Where we sit together for an hour or two and evaluate your performance for the last six months, it's ridiculous. It should be monitored constantly and be evaluated"
Otto is "constantly" evaluating his performance and questioning what value he added to his business each week. Otto said: "(it's) a constant process of improvement and evaluation and learning from the mistakes you made, of course. And I hope you do make mistakes because then if you can learn from it, then you can actually make progress."
Fundamentally, there's nothing wrong with the six-month appraisal model. However, Otto's progression tool provides an alternative to the average performance management process, one we can all apply within our business models and personal lives.
This progression tool Otto speaks about allows you to set priorities and act on them with urgency. Then, constantly reflect on performance, be it on yourself or working with others.
It's also a case of stress testing this operating model to ensure you progress and gain value from it. When asking yourself, 'what did I do to progress my business this week' also consider, 'is what I'm doing making an impact this week and is this in line with my organisation's priorities and business strategy?'
What are the benefits of constant self-reflection?
The key benefit to this self-reflection and asking yourself the question at the top of this page is to ensure you stay aligned and hold yourself accountable to your business' short and long term objectives, as well as your personal goals. If you don't regularly ask yourself this question, how can you progress your life?
Allowing for self-reflection gives you perspective and helps you understand what you and your colleagues are doing to progress your business. It's a case of looking at the bigger picture and being honest with yourself to ensure that what you are doing has a purpose and makes a difference.
'What did you do to progress your business this week?' We can all self-reflect and ask ourselves the question, no matter which rung on our organisation's ladder we are on.
But how do I self-reflect?
By this point in the article, you may be thinking, 'yes, this all sounds good, but how do I put this self-reflection into practice?'
Honestly, there's not one straight answer to this, but thankfully there are many solutions. Ultimately, the way you self-reflect comes down to personal preference.
Firstly, choose your method. Some people prefer to self-reflect by meditating, writing in a journal or talking openly to a trusted friend or colleague. Whatever your approach, as long as each week you're asking yourself, 'what did you do to progress your business this week?' you can't go wrong.
Now you've chosen your method; next, you need to schedule a time to self-reflect. As mentioned, we're all busy with work and our personal lives, but just as you make time to eat, socialise, and relax, you must find time to self-reflect.
Schedule some time, this only has to be 10 minutes each week, and again it's down to your personal preference. Use this time effectively to review what you've achieved each week to progress your business and set yourself goals to accomplish for the following week.
Progress with positivity.
Communication expert and founder of Seventh Wave's people training company, Nick Booth, gave his thoughts on the importance of self-reflection and how it’s helped progress his life.
On an episode of Amoria Bond's Progressing Lives Everywhere Podcast, hosted by Timon de Haan, Nick said: "The one thing I would say that certainly helped me the most is positive reflection.”
“I would positively reflect on your interactions with other human beings. I would positively reflect on your behaviour. Reflect on it and think, 'ok, what could I have done 10% better?' So I think positive, healthy reflection."
We all have weeks where we perform better than the previous, so keep your self-reflection positive and don't be too hard on yourself. When you're reflecting on yourself, imagine you're reviewing a colleague's performance. You wouldn't talk down to a colleague in this situation, so don't talk down to yourself.
To positively reflect on your performance and how you progressed your business this week, Nick also says he asks himself these additional five questions.
- What's just happened?
- How do I feel?
- What could I have done 10% better?
- What went well?
- What would I do differently next time?
Think of it like this, the best sports stars reflect on their performance each week and ask themselves what they added to their teams’ success. They do this to ensure they progress and improve their performance, ready for their next competitive outing.
Ultimately, this self-transformation involves reflecting on yourself each week and asking yourself, 'what did you do to progress your business this week?' This will help grow your business and unlock your potential.
As Otto says: "progression is another way of making sure that you achieve constant growth, development and adding value. Everything you do should add value to the process that you are in. That can be significant. It can be minor, but it always needs to be a step forward instead of a step back."
Listen to the conversations with Otto and Nick on Apple Podcasts or by searching for 'Progressing Lives Everywhere' on your preferred podcast platform.
Alternatively, you can watch the full unedited interviews with Otto and Nick via the links below.
If you’re looking for a specialist to progress your business or are looking to unlock your potential, contact us today and discover how Amoria Bond recruitment services can help.