The Power of Pausing: Reflection for Personal and Professional Transformation: CSW Conference 2020

by Mikayla Madjidi – November 16, 2020

Writing in a journal

At the end of October, the Principled Innovation team hosted an hour-long online workshop titled The Power of Pausing: Reflection for Personal and Professional Transformation at the 2020 ASU CSW/SC Professional Development Conference.

We developed the workshop to highlight the value of self-reflection, a key component of Principled Innovation, which is often overlooked in a culture where working harder and faster is the default. While hitting pause to spend time in quiet contemplation seems antithetical to increased productivity and improved performance, regular self-reflection actually builds the skills and qualities we value in leaders and teammates, including empathy, humility, accountability, decision-making, and self-awareness. By seeking to understand who we are and how our thoughts, feelings, and actions affect others (and vice versa), we can uncover insights that lead to better relationships and better processes that help us work smarter and in ways that center our humanity. To get to those meaningful realizations, we need to know which questions to ask, and the workshop aimed to introduce participants to those questions.

The 8:30am session felt like a morning retreat and was designed to help participants really slow down and ease into the day. PI team Project Manager Courtney Wielgus set a calm, relaxed tone before leading 125 attendees through exercises for quiet reflection. Beforehand, we asked attendees (especially non-early birds) to set up their environment to reduce distractions and maximize their comfort and presence and all were encouraged to take some time to engage their senses, get grounded, and set a couple intentions before diving into self-reflection.

Attendees were exposed to different ways to practice self-reflection and how it can be used as a powerful tool in three key areas – personal and professional development, navigating uncertainty, and process improvement. The OofSI Hiring Process served as a case study on how to improve work processes through reflection and the Principled Innovation EDGE Conversation tool was introduced as a reflection tool to enhance the EDGE Conversation performance review process.

Some of the questions that participants addressed during this session included:

  • What makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning?
  • What makes you want to hit the snooze button?
  • What are your gifts and strengths and how can you more fully utilize them?
  • What have you done lately that didn’t work? Why didn’t it work?
  • What steps do you need to take to have more joy in your days?
  • What do you want to be known for?

Additionally, participants were asked to think of a process they use on a regular basis and then reflect on the following:

  • Are your values reflected in the process?
  • Is there a more human-centered approach you could take?
  • Have you asked “What if?” questions in order to engage in possibility thinking?
  • Have you considered how other people/teams or other industries approach a similar process?

Participants left with resources to support them in building a regular reflection practice and hopefully with some new insights about themselves and their work.

If you’d like to catch up on what you missed at the conference, you can access all of the CSW Conference Videos here: Announcements | Commission on the Status of Women