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The ramifications of reflection

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Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “reflection” as:

“A thought, idea or opinion formed or a remark made as a result of meditation.”

“Consideration of some subject matter, idea or purpose.”

It’s the start of a new year, and many individuals personally use the new year as a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

According to an article published in the Washington Post, between 40 and 50 percent of individuals in the U.S. set new year’s resolutions. And, of that 40 to 50 percent, only 20 percent actually, actively work to attain or maintain their goal at the two-year mark.

Within this article, lead researcher John C. Norcross provides insights into why individuals fail or succeed at hitting their resolutions. One of the success factors Norcross discusses is a phenomenon called the “contemplation phase.”

According to this phenomenon, people are more likely to reach their goals if they begin considering their resolution and developing an attainable goal and stick-to-it plan long before Jan. 1.

This article made me consider the ramifications of reflection on business success. Often an organization works on a major project or initiative, spending millions of dollars investing in new systems or processes. These projects can be multi-year initiatives and involve the majority of company resources. Plans are made, consultants are hired, long nights are logged getting everything across the finish line — and, then, silence. The plans are shelved, consultants move on and individuals are redeployed.

Then what?

The successful organization has built-in times to reflect. Was project ABC successful? Did we meet our goals and objectives? If so, why? If not, why? What about our go-forward strategy? Do we have our implementation plans that should be adjusted? What is our actual return on investment-compared to our projected business case return on investment?

My experience indicates that most organizations conduct immediate lessons-learned or action-after reviews, but have little to no formal milestones for long-term reflection. Without this deliberate reflection, organizations may spend time planning strategy and moving forward on their project portfolio, but they miss the opportunity to use their own experiences to create meaningful business resolutions.

If you need help reflecting on the success of your projects, Momentum has the expertise to help by developing milestones, strategies, implementation plans, goals, objectives and more, helping your organization achieve success on future projects.

Jennifer Oswald currently serves as vice president for Momentum Inc., a small, women-owned IT and management consulting firm based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. As a Certified Business Analysis Professional™ (CBAP®), she leads the Momentum team in providing services in management consulting, process improvement, project management and implementation support.

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