Blog Post

Reflection Should Be a Habit — Not Just a Tradition

Jeff Miller

Chief Learning Officer and Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness, Cornerstone OnDemand

It's nearing the end of the year, which for many of us marks a time for reflection and resolution. Where did we succeed in the past year? Where did we fail? What can we do better next year?

But as steadfast as the tradition of New Years' Resolutions may be — the practice of making changes in the New Year is thought to have started among the ancient Babylonians —the resolutions themselves are often short-lived. We pledge to finally read those books on our bedside table, propose more ideas during team meetings, actually use our gym membership or take a real vacation. Three months later, the books are collecting dust, Phil is still the loudmouth at the table and we convince ourselves we just don't have time to exercise or take a week off.

The Impact of Habit

Why do we wait until January 1 to reflect on our lives and make these changes, only to fade back into our old routine months, or even weeks, later? In some ways, the popularity of the tradition belittles its impact —we make a resolution simply because that's what we're supposed to do at this time of year. So, last year, I vowed to buck the trend. My resolution? To stop making New Years' Resolutions altogether.

It wasn't a statement of pride — I certainly have changes I want to make in my life — but an attempt to move from an annual tradition of reflection and resolution to a habit of such. Instead of thinking up and struggling to achieve a few one-off New Years' Resolutions, I wanted to establish a consistent, ongoing behavior and practice of reflecting and improving.

In fact, I think everyone would benefit from creating a habit of reflection — especially during the weeks before the holidays (the busiest weeks of the year for many people). It's time to make a commitment to be our best selves now — not in a few weeks when the clocks strikes midnight, not next year, but now.

Think Bigger

In the midst of rushing to meet Q4 and end of year goals and deadlines, we tend to put our heads down until we can come up for air. We work to speed through to-do lists, rather than taking a step back and prioritizing our tasks. We put blinders on, but what we really need to do is broaden our perspectives.

I found myself in this exact routine the other day. I was simply milling through my list of tasks to complete before the end of the year, instead of looking at my work holistically. It was overwhelming to gaze at the sheer volume of work. To be honest, there are several things I can probably push to next year in order to hone in on the tasks that truly matter to my current goals. By taking time to stop and reflect on my workload — not after it's completed, but while I'm in the thick of it — I can heighten the quality of my work and my level of engagement on the job.

My year without a New Years’ Resolution has taught me that we should always be reflecting, we should always have resolutions. But power emerges when reflection becomes a practice.

Maybe it is on the treadmill or maybe it is in your car with the radio off on your drive home. When I was a public school teacher, every commute home I would turn the radio off and think about the day; what went well, what didn’t go so well, what I could learn today that would make me better tomorrow. The practice, I believe, made me more in tune with work and my students. It’s the difference between a good leader — someone who gets the work done — and a great leader — someone who goes above and beyond. Instead of pondering your upcoming resolution for 2016, why not try to start something new today: put down the to-do list, reflect and think bigger.

Photo: Creative Commons

Related Resources

Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.

Introducing an exclusive partnership with WaitWhat's Masters of Scale for an entirely new learning experience


Introducing an exclusive partnership with WaitWhat's Masters of Scale for an entirely new learning experience

You asked for popular podcast modalities and we delivered through a partnership with WaitWhat’s Masters of Scale. Check out lessons about building teams, developing products and scaling companies from the world's top leaders, now available in multiple Cornerstone Content Anytime subscriptions.

Alexander Mann Solutions wins Cornerstone OnDemands sponsored categories at the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards

Blog Post

Alexander Mann Solutions wins Cornerstone OnDemands sponsored categories at the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards

Here at Cornerstone, we absolutely love to hear inspiring stories and share them far and wide, especially when they are about talent management! We were recently headline sponsors of the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards. These annual awards, hosted by TALiNT International, celebrate excellence across the RPO, MSP and Talent Solutions marketplace, and recognise the wonderful ways companies are demonstrating exemplary growth, innovation and leadership. For 2020, it was the usual great awards with a bit of a difference. As we know, everything has now moved online – even this year’s Convergence! But this didn’t seem to impact the TIARA Talent Solution Awards at all. Despite not being able to celebrate face-to-face, the event was filled with laughter, engagement, and most of all, lots of fun! This year, we also supported the Best Use of Technology Award as well as the Overall Winner. The winner – triumphing in both categories – could not be more deserving, and so we duly wanted to pass on our huge congratulations to Alexander Mann Solutions! Alexander Mann was awarded the Cornerstone OnDemand Best Use of Technology Award for their brilliant ‘Find Your Fit’ technology solution. The platform offers users personal preferences and assisted future growth through interactive videos, personalised one-to-one calls, and a dedicated platform to match skills with current roles within the organisation. The solution had 1,200 employees enrolling within just six months of implementation and is continuing to improve every day. Find Your Fit helps employees to understand how their organisation functions better, including the areas that are growing the most rapidly. In turn, this helps employees to develop the skills they need in order to take advantage of these developments to enhance not only their personal career progression, but overall business performance. After all, businesses don’t innovate, people do! The judges commended this entry for “the clear way in which an innovative technology solution clearly delivered in results”. The judges also applauded Alexander Mann for demonstrating customer care by really listening to client’s individual challenges and using inventive technology solutions to help design a custom built solution that helps to support the overall internal career options and pathways available to each organisation. The award was accepted virtually by Stephen Gordon, Recruitment Tech Lead at Talent Collective/AMS. In addition to being awarded Best Use of Technology, Alexander Mann was also recognised as this year’s overall winner of the Talent Solutions Awards. Chair of Judges, Jim Richardson highlighted that “the overall winner is based on the organisation that consistently demonstrates excellence and innovation across all of its activities”. Both Peoplescout and Guidant Global were highly commended by the judges for their brilliant work, but ultimately, Alexander Mann took home the award for demonstrating consistently high standards across all areas. Jim Richardson added that although Alexander Mann has the resources to support many initiatives, it has still managed to deliver consistently on large scale and complex global projects. This is a phenomenally impressive achievement that all of us at Cornerstone also wish to say a huge congratulations for! The other winners and nominees from this year’s TIARA Talent Solutions Awards have highlighted more excellent work and brilliant stories across the recruiting sector and HR community. For the full list of winners, check out the TALiNT International’s September/October 2020 edition here.

Blog: Why HR need to lead the agile change journey

Blog Post

Blog: Why HR need to lead the agile change journey

It's been going on for a while now - the shift towards more agile and flexible companies that quickly can adapt to the fast-changing times of today. Organisations that are unable to make this move are gradually losing competitiveness and finding it more difficult to prove themselves against smaller and faster players. Those who recognise the need and are able to create new conditions for the business, in the form of new structures, will survive and flourish in tomorrow's economic reality. Agile HR can be viewed from two different angles; How HR should work together within the HR team and what / how HR should deliver value to the business for which they exist. All HR processes that are part of Talent and People Management will be different when you start working agile, and each of the processes have their specific tools and working methods. Here we will look at HR from a more general perspective, to get an overall understanding of how the HR role, and the corresponding deliverables, change in a company that wants to increase its business agility. The goal is to focus on creating better workplaces through the development of teams and individuals, throughout the whole organisation. Small and medium-sized companies are easier to change, as they have less hierarchical structures, and often a more decentralised business, where everyone has an ability to make the decisions that need to be made, locally rather than centrally. The larger and more complex a company is, the more systems, processes, and structures there are that cannot be easily and quickly changed. Although it is possible to change a department in the organisation, some issues might remain that forces the department back into the central structures. This happens because it is not possible to isolate a specific part of the business. You can compare it to an attempt to change a rubber ball. It changes when it is being squeezed, but when you let go, it quickly returns to its old shape. However, there is one functional department in most large organisations that can influence all the other parts at once – HR. In many large companies, HR controls; ● Leadership programs and development ● Change management ● Organisational development ● Employee engagement ● Employee training and skills development ● Rewards and bonuses ● Recruitment ● Goal setting and performance reviews ● Long term mix of employees All these processes or areas flow through the entire organisation. These are the structures that can support, or prevent, a more radical change towards a more agile company. It all depends on HOW we work with processes and programs. They can be developed in a way that, paradoxically, prevents performance and commitment. Or they can optimise performance and employee satisfaction. HR struggles with criticisms, it is accused of being some kind of "organisational police", which hinders performance and commitment by implementing Talent management processes in a way that was intended to increase the same. This needs to change. HR has been in the back seat for too long and now it is time to take responsibility for a change in how to support the organisation. Because it is about people, and relationships between people, this is the key to how the company performs as a whole. It is the system that fundamentally needs to change, not the people. We do not need to do more things or implement complicated frameworks and methods. Instead, we need to understand how we can make it easier for people to make their best contribution to the company, by providing supportive structures, instead of hindering structures. It is through more experiments and by trying different working methods, that one can find the best path for each organisation, and each team/individual. Here, the agile principles and the agile mindset serve as a guide. Agile tools and frameworks work sometimes, but not always. The only way to continually improve is through constant learning, which also means that we sometimes fail. Companies that learn faster than others, and turn that knowledge into new ways of working for employees, but also new products and services for external customers, gain a competitive advantage and will be the winner of the future. HR has the power and the ability to design the structures that aim to either support or make it harder for employees to contribute in creative and innovative ways. If HR sticks to the old, traditional ways of working, the consequence will be rigid and non-agile organisations that use inefficient systems and processes. HR can either hinder or support the change, so HR must show the way. By providing opportunities for alternative and more agile working methods, and by focusing on value creation and value flows for the internal and by extension also external customers, HR can lead companies through changes that no other department is capable of. The next blog chapter will dive into HR's changing role.

Schedule a personalised 1:1

Talk to a Cornerstone expert about how we can help with your organisation’s unique people management needs.

© Cornerstone 2022