Support your enterprising workforce with reflection

More and more organisations are looking at ways of growing their business by asking their workforce to be more enterprising. If you think your team could help you grow your business by being a more enterprising workforce then you will need to find ways of supporting them. You need to look at how best to develop them and their work to ensure they are being truly entrepreneurial and not just taking risks and jumping from one idea to another without consideration. I believe that in order for any learning to take place, in you and your teams, be it developing new working practices, customer service or carrying out more enterprising solutions, a period of reflection needs to be encouraged.

Reflection is a tool used in many professions from nursing to teaching and regularly taught in universities in order to encourage deeper learning and evaluation of experiences and activities?(just as I have recently just been teaching my students on the Post Graduate Certificate in Mentoring Entrepreneurs). The idea is to take time away from carrying out the activity, doing the work and being with customers to consider the impact of any new ways of working, new ideas, new projects and new interventions in order to evaluate their effectiveness. Considering the questions from the?reflective model by Rolfe et al (2001) can?help in developing a new way of learning. The questions can easily be used in the business context.

The simple reflective tool of “What“, “So What” and “Now What” encourages the participants to reflect on an experience or activity and consider its merits as well as learning points. By using some simple added questions you can help your teams to reflect on new ideas and improve on them, or if need be drop them as unsuccessful. Being willing to try new things and accept their need for development or dismissal as a bad idea is a key aspect of developing a more enterprising mindset. So what do you need to be asking?

Think of the three questions and how you can use them to gain a deeper understanding of how things are going, what does it matter and how you can move forward. Below are some examples:

WHAT…?
…was good/bad about the experience?
…is the problem/difficulty/success/benefit?
…was my role in the situation?
…was I trying to achieve?
…actions did I take?
…was the response of others?
…happened when customers saw the new option?
…happened to our sales figures?

SO WHAT…?
…does this tell me/teach me/imply/about our new idea?
…attitudes?do the staff/clients/shareholders/tenants/board have towards this?
…did the staff do well?
…other knowledge can I bring to the situation?
…could/should I have done to make it better?
…is my new understanding of the situation?
…broader issues arise from offering this new service/product??
…can we do to improve the product/service?

NOW WHAT…?
…do I/we need to do in order to make things better?
…can be done to improve the product/service?
…broader issues need to be considered if this product/service is to be offered on a larger scale?
…might be the consequences of offering this new product/service on the business growth/profits?

The above questions and ideas should be a really good start for you and your team in developing new enterprising ideas within your business. Remember reflective practice is about learning and growing, not blaming and dumping an idea without consideration. All entrepreneurial development is about learning and growing, both as individuals and as an organisation, in order to have an enterprising workforce.

If you would like to encourage an enterprising workforce and would like to know more about how to embed a learning organisation culture into your business speak to me on 01570 421301 or contact us about the work I have done with private companies, charities and housing associations to enable learning and not blame to be the preferred practice.

Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D., Jasper, M. (2001) Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user?s guide. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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