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How the Power of Reflection Builds Stronger Businesses

Let’s face it, nobody really learns from their successes like they do from their failures. When was the last time you delivered a stellar presentation, a picture-perfect pitch and reflected upon how awesome you were? Exactly.

But, when you don’t measure up to expectations, that’s when the little voice of self-critique nudges you on your shoulder and asks, “Hey, what happened?”

Whether it’s improving your competitive advantage, increasing team cohesion or developing greater leadership impact, the question we all face is, “How do I sustain success?” (and if you’re just climbing out of the gutter it’s, “How do I build success?”).

No matter where you find yourself, leverage the power of curiosity to find the hidden opportunity by asking yourself these three questions:

1. Were our assumptions accurate?
Forecasting revenue is important for planning. However, having an accurate financial forecast only comes from forecasting accurately, and you become more accurate through deliberate effort and repetition.

To improve your accuracy — or anything, for that matter — reflect upon your last forecasts and the decision-making criteria you used to inform those predictions. Now, compare those past predictions with actual results. What was accurate? What wasn’t? What caused the difference? Identifying the difference between intention and reality is an important step because it builds your context for next time.

2. Where did the tides turn?
An inflection point is a change in direction; a deviance in trajectory. This is the point at which your performance — as a leader, as a team or as a company — turned, for better or worse. Historical inflection points include those of: Henry Ford, when he introduced something that people never even knew they needed; Netflix, when it beat Blockbuster to the punch for video subscriptions; Uber, with its transaction-free and super-easy ride sharing service.

Now, while not every company has inflection points that impact the entire world, they nonetheless experience a shifting of the tides. The question is, did those shifts provide positive yields and if not, then why not?

3. What would we repeat?
This applies to hiring, firing, training and every important decision you make. If the people you hired were exemplary and you would hire them again, reflect on the selection criteria you used and how it can be repeated. Similarly, for those who weren’t quite up to snuff, what were the early warning signs that indicated they were less than ideal, and how might you better predict those signs in the future?

Asking tough questions is one thing, but failing to answer them because they’re tough is something else. It takes courage to be willing and able to answer difficult questions. But if reflection were easy, then more people would make time for it.

This article was written by Jeff Boss from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The information in this article is presented as-is and does not necessarily reflect the views of First Republic Bank.

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