The end of a year is a natural pause point to assess progress, accomplishments, failures, lessons learned and goal status for the year past. It also provides an opportunity to set objectives for the coming year.
As I began my review for 2014 I contemplated on the meaning and value of reflection; after all it is a consistent theme of all spiritual and religious practices throughout the ages. Why do we reflect? What does it do for us? How do we do it and how much value does it really offer?
The term "reflection" is derived from the Latin term reflectere, which means, "to bend back." If we consider a mirror this is precisely what it does � it bends back the light. It makes visible what is apparent to others, but a mystery to us - namely, what our faces look like.
Reflection is an action that can be scheduled at specific times or can be undertaken on an ad hoc, spontaneous, situational basis. The practice allows us to pause, breathe and consider our situation. Reflection is a learned skill that requires a high level of consciousness, it enables us to understand our thoughts, observe our experiences and consider the impact that our behaviours have on others.
The art of reflection features prominently in my Cultural Coaching and Cultural Intelligence sessions whereby I regularly remind participants and Coachees of the importance of frequently 'checking in' with ourselves. Essentially, self and situational reflection is especially important when we are interacting with people of different cultures. It helps to facilitate our level of understanding and awareness in terms of attitudes, beliefs and value systems of both others and ourselves; it helps to guide our behaviours enabling relationships built around trust and mutual respect. Reflection is a critical component of cultural intelligence.
I read somewhere recently: "We do not learn from experience�we learn from reflecting on experience." The value of reflection is just that � to derive meaning from our experiences. It is a bridge between our experiences and learning. It allows us to apply past knowledge to new situations; it inspires provocative thought and action and promotes continuous learning.
In terms of your CQ, some possible end-of-year questions to consider are:
- What new cross-cultural relationships have I formed this year?
- Which existing cross-cultural relationships have I deepened this year?
- What actions have I taken to enhance these relationships?
- What else could I be doing?
- Were there any cross-cultural interactions that didn�t go well?
- Why did this occur and what could I do differently next time?
- What resources, experiences and conversations do I need to have to further my CQ development and growth?
- How will I measure my progress?
We want to thank you for your continued support of our work. We have had a successful year with new projects and assignments and look forward to building on them for next year.
Wishing all of you a joyful, peaceful and successful 2015.
If you would like to read 'Cultural Intelligence for Knowledge Transfer Teams' please click here. We are always interested in your feedback so please let us know if you have any!
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