Sharpening The Saw

27 February

In one Chinese restaurant, they were passing out postcards with proverbs.

One of them said: “A hungry man can’t see right or wrong, he just sees food.”

Similarly, when we are consumed by some problem, it’s hard to see anything besides a problem. When we are ‘inside’ the problem, it’s hard to analyze it. It’s hard to be creative.

We need to step out.

A famous educational scholar, David Kolb, proposed a model which describes how we learn. It is known as the Kolb cycle. The cycle starts with action. The next step is reflecting and conceptualizing on it. Then we create new actions and experiment with them. And finally, we return and begin a new and improved action. And from there, the cycle repeats itself.

What this model tells us is that performance is improved by stepping out of the performance mode and stepping into reflective, thinking space. We can start seeing right or wrong only when we stop thinking about “food.”

There is no way to get better without those pauses to reflect. In the words of Stephen Covey, it’s “sharpening the saw.”

So how do you create opportunities to learn from your experience? How do you establish that reflective space for yourself?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest on the blog

I once coached a founder who had stepped down from running his company. What he wanted, at first, was to explore how he should build relationships with the executive team. He wasn’t all that happy with their performance. He often had disagreements with them. When people have a problem, many times it is because there […]

11 March

Sometimes all that is needed is to just change our mental gears. A human mind becomes stuck easily. Our train of thought goes round and round in circles. We all familiar with that. It may be an annoying tune that plays on and on in our heads. But the same thing occurs when we have […]

6 February

This is the last in the series on coaching principles. You can find previous parts here. Coaching helps clients explore their goal and their situation. To have a deeper impact, this exploration needs to happen in a safe space where the person will be capable of being honest with herself. In coaching, we allow the […]

23 January
Subscribe to our mailing list

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required