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Your email address will not be published.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

What do leaders do, when they want to help? When our subordinates have some difficulties the natural urge is to step in and tell them what to do. If we had a similar experience, it only seems natural to share it with other people. For example, you have this great employee Lisa*. She is a […]

15 May

We all know examples when we want to change something, and it happens smoothly, almost by itself. Other times seemingly reasonable and desirable change doesn’t occur. How come? What conditions are necessary for a change to happen? Let’s say you want to start working on your side project. And you decided that you will spend […]

16 April

Hypnotherapist Milton Erickson had an ingenious way to induce anesthesia in his patients. He has a patient who was experiencing a lot of physical pain. Naturally, the pain was absorbing all of this patient’s attention. So Milton Erickson would start by asking: “What would happen if you looked over there and a huge hungry tiger […]

27 March
Subscribe to our mailing list

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required