Reflection As A Bridge to Transformation

Organisational transformations start with a bold vision, a new strategy, revised cultures, new organisational structures and processes, and a roadmap to execute.

But ultimately, organisational transformations are successful when people transform. And even if all the other components are in place, when people don’t align and are on board with the new direction, the transformation doesn’t achieve the outcomes.

In my work with groups and individuals, there is a common characteristic about people who succeed in transforming: they reflect deeply, learn new things and unlearn what does not serve them and their organisation anymore.

Here are three rules for an insightful reflection:

  1. Structured time and schedule. Reflection is prioritised, scheduled and performed regularly. It’s not just another meeting; it’s part of who they are.

  2. Trusted confidant and dialogue partner. Only with a trusted partner, we can perform a deep introspection. Being honest with ourselves, especially during hard times, requires a space that allows unorganised thoughts, emotions, and desires to surface. A partner that we respect will be equally supportive and challenging. They will dare to call out what we don’t see.

  3. Transformational topics. Reflection should be a space to bring what in other forums we would otherwise avoid. Use cases from the past and the present that we have not settled yet, an uncertain future, leadership decisions we need to learn from, and past and present events that have shaped who we are as leaders.

Reflection has transformed who I am as a person and professional. I understood and re-wrote my stories, and extracted new meanings, and with that, I shaped new visions for the future. While I appreciate the action, action without reflection can be a trap in maintaining the status quo.


Credit goes to Boston Consulting Group and the Three Rules of Reflection.