Malcolm Hyde, Executive Director of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA), discusses reflective learning and offers some top tips

reflective learning

Any personal development plan should include time to think about your future, your medium and long term aims, your progress and how you are going to move forward but how do you make the most of these moments of reflection? 


Start with the end game

Around the turn of the millennium Dr Stephen R Covey highlighted the benefits of “Starting with the end game in mind.” As a child you were undoubtedly asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is starting with the end game in mind, however, when we “grow up” we rarely invest the time to understand where we want to be in say 10, 20 or 30 years. Covey advocates that we should consider what people will say about us at our own funeral. Slightly morbid, yes, but if we live our lives reflecting on that outcome we will focus our energies on objectives that have real meaning for us. 


Take a worldview

The German word weltanschauung (worldview) is a useful technique for reflection. The objective is to consider outcomes from a wide range of perspectives. Let’s say you undertake a project to improve customer communication. When reflecting on the success of the project you would view the outcomes from the perspectives of ‘all’ interested parties. When reporting to management you may simply include the outcomes from the customers’ perspective and your company’s perspective. However your personal review may include the perspectives of your line manager, your colleagues and your family. The outcomes may indicate that the project was a huge success for your customers and company but what if it had a detrimental effect on your colleagues? The weltanschauung approach will help you to recognise this and so give you the opportunity to make up with your colleagues. 

At the CILA we believe that the ability to reflect and learn from experiences is fundamental to becoming a professional, and so we ask those who are seeking to become a Chartered Loss Adjuster to write a dissertation which includes evidence of their reflective learning. You may not be ready to write a dissertation today but how about simply starting with the question “What do I want to be when I grow up?”