The time has come that the business community understands and uses reflection processes.
The economy and training systems increasingly deal with reflection and self-reflection. Often it is not understood how effective reflection is in the world of business. Only a few know the exact difference between reflection and analysis. The time has come to explain what is to be gained by the inclusion of reflection processes and to provide clarity in the differentiation between the two. Only in this way the reflection competence can be specifically measured, developed, applied and utilized.
Analysis is an active thought process in which you combine numbers, facts, occurrences, put them into context, derive results and draw conclusions. You almost exclusively use your intellectual and factual approach to the world.
Reflection is a passive and sensing process, in which you perceive impressions, intuitions, moods, … you approach and realize them and gain insights. You almost exclusively use your intuitive and emotional approach to the world.
When analysing, you personally stay on the surface, on the outside, at a distance, with those aspects which are measurable and visible. The process of analysis itself is fast and extensive.
While reflecting, you personally go beneath the surface, to the inside, get in contact with aspects which are intangible and invisible. The reflection process itself is slow and pervasive.
The differences between reflection and analysis can be understood with this artwork by Claude Monet. Imagine yourself standing on the bridge in the picture, looking at the scenery. You analyse every visible plant and animal. When you walk of the bridge towards the bank and look into the depth of the water, you only see a blurred vision of what inside. A reflection process corresponds, to the situation, when you take time to get a closer look. Gradually, you can see what is happening below the surface more clearly.
For one’s own personal development, it is important to know the difference between self-analysis and self-reflection. During self-analysis, you think about yourself, without having to enter an intimate relationship with yourself. In self-reflection you dive into your inner personality levels. There you will find your strengths and weaknesses and at the same time your needs and drives. You meet yourself authentically, without changing artificially through a behaviour control. Understanding turns to insight –knowledge becomes certainty.
For example, a manager has determined through self-analysis that she has trouble getting in lane and adapting. This knowledge is nothing new for her. Despite her efforts she did not manage to resolve the tensions, which she created through her behaviour in her work environment.
Through self-reflection, she could see that she has a fundamental problem with proximity and distance and that once her decision space is limited, insurmountable resistances arise in her. The manager realized that she needs a clearer definition of her area of responsibility to increase her efficiency and that, whenever appropriate, she needs to communicate her inner “No”. In this way, she can prevent tensions and resistances, which otherwise would arise in her and others. The manager has achieved clarity in which suggestions she will communicate to her supervisor in order to change the working conditions so that her work environment fits her optimally. She took responsibility for her situation by considering her own strengths and associated weaknesses. She decided to change, which was based on certainty by her inner personality and was implemented in a solution-oriented way.
If you have developed your skills for self-reflection, you become clearer and more confident in your realizations. Expand your skills as leader, decision maker or specialist by activating your access to self-reflection. In many ways, your life will become richer and more successful, not only for you but also for your environment.
Images: Pen and calculator on paper, Evlakhov Valerity, Shutterstock
Le Bassin aux nymphéas, harmonie verte, 1899, Claude Monet (1840–1926), Musée d’Orsay, Paris
This is a translation of the German blog article Reine Analyse übersieht Wesentliches — Reflexion geht tiefer! posted on November 25th 2010 by Christine Kranz