In Dr. Leah Weiss’s fabulous new book, How We Work, she shares a fascinating study about the power of reflecting on our work.

In the study, conducted by Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino, three groups of IT workers underwent a 16 day job training.

One group of individuals simply took the training.

The second group took the training and, for 15 minutes at the end of each day, wrote about and reflected upon what they learned that day.

The third group did this reflection writing and also spent five minutes sharing their writings and insights with another employee.

At the end of the training, those who reflected performed 22.8% better on a final test than the control group did. Those who reflected and shared with another person performed 25% better on the test.

It’s powerful to see the data so clearly, isn’t it? What a fabulous reminder that reflecting on our experiences and articulating aloud what we’ve learned dramatically impacts how much we are learning from our experiences.

• Do you currently have time and space built in for reflection on what you are learning? Even if you aren’t in formal training like those in this particular study, every day you are learning from the successes, failures, challenges, conversations, and feedback that you encountered that day. What was the learning from that day’s success? From its challenge? From a conversation with a client or colleague? Can you build in a few minutes daily, or weekly, to reflect on this in writing or aloud?

• Who in your life can you share your learnings with? Can you build time into team conversations or 1:1 meetings for sharing reflections on what is being learned? Or, is there a support person in your life like a coach whom you could have this kind of conversation with? A peer mentoring partner?
• What about applying this principle in your personal life? In some sense we are all in an educational training program every day – life. The curriculum is really something, isn’t it? Can you make space to journal about what you are learning about yourself, about others, about life, from the day’s or week’s experiences?

I’m thrilled that I’ll be talking in-depth with Dr. Leah Weiss, author of How We Work, about this topic​ of reflection at work and other key topics for productivity and meaning at work – from purpose to mindfulness and more. Dr. Weiss teaches the Leading with Mindfulness and Compassion course at Stanford Business School, and has a fascinating hybrid background in social work, Buddhist meditation, theology and education.

About her new book, The New York Times Book Review says, “Weiss’s approach to greater satisfaction and success at work is steeped in evidence-based science. And it’s not just philosophical; there’s plenty of practical advice.”



Photo Credit: Kari Shea

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