Reflect to Adapt

Jaime Yáñez
3 min readMar 23, 2022
Photo by: Vince Flemming

The rhythm of life can feel like a wild river. We let ourselves be carried away by the impulse of the water. We dove headlong into the stream, inventing as we went. One day flows into the next. The to-do list grows and grows. We’re busy, busy, busy…

Day after day, we work hard and get things done. But sometimes, we don’t stop to ask if what we are doing is what we should be doing. Sometimes we don’t know if we are moving in the right direction. Sometimes we wonder if there is a better way to do things.

In his inspiring book “Steal Like an Artist,” Austin Kleon shares a story about Abraham Lincoln that illustrates this idea:

“One day, while working in his fields, Abe Lincoln picked up an ax he had been using all morning and discovered that the blade was dull. Instead of picking up another tool or moving on with his dull axe, he stopped what he was doing, and He took the time to sharpen his axe.”

This may seem like a no-brainer: you have to sharpen your tools! But how often do you stop to sharpen your axe? or… How often do you reflect on everything you do? How often do you do this as a team or as an organization?

The best way to build a real team is to stop, without losing your cadence, to reflect on where you’ve come so far, what has worked well, and what the team can improve on. Team reflection is an essential part of keeping your team strong because it allows you to combine positive reinforcement, goal setting, and problem-solving while being and doing Agile; or put another way, while we accept uncertainty to increase more and better value.

Reflection is critical because it allows us to see our progress and assess what is not working well and needs improvement. It also allows us to celebrate success and highlight best practices that should be repeated in the future.

Sometimes when you get into building or increasing great products, it’s easy to lose sight of why you started. It’s easy to forget that your business isn’t just a means to an end: it’s an opportunity to learn, grow and create something new. I believe that one of the keys to success is reflection and that to improve, we have to look back and think about how we can do better next time. This is nothing more than understanding and understanding that we have the power to make everything better in our hands.

One of the most important aspects of being an Agile Coach is accompanying teams to reflect on their processes and interactions. Since companies are constantly evolving, this type of reflection ensures that teams continuously improve by learning from what has worked for them in the past and what hasn’t.

As an Agile Coach, you must create safe spaces where team members can come together to reflect on their interactions. This means giving them time and space to do so before deciding how they want to move forward. To get it right, consider using the following tips:

-Encourage team members to participate: Inquire appreciatively into conversations about processes or interactions. They may feel more comfortable sharing their ideas if others do as well.

-Make sure everyone has a chance to speak: There are valuable ideas that could help your team improve, and they tend to hide in the silences.

-Powerful Questions: What are we building this for? What makes our team unique? What are you passionate about? Who do we want to impact with this new product? These questions can sometimes take a backseat as we move through our days. But these are important (really important!) questions, and they deserve an answer as a team.

Final words

As humans, we are extraordinary. We can adapt to almost everything.

In fact, we have to do it to survive. That’s where reflection comes into play.

Inspection or reflection is examining ourselves or our actions, without judgment, to see what works and what doesn’t work for us. We do it to make conscious decisions about how and why we want to change our behavior, habits, and even our mindset.

As we navigate this strange and unsettling time, we must not miss the opportunity to create room for improvement… Always! Only then can we truly grow as people, teams, and organizations.