“Leadership is never guaranteed. It must be continually renewed.” ~ Howard Gardner

   Few among us haven’t been, in some way, profoundly impacted by the COVID pandemic. As business leaders across our region grapple with the many new realities affecting even the smallest aspects of our businesses, we continue to look for new tools and new approaches that support the need for rapid change in our traditional business models.
   As a part of that journey, perhaps the essential first step is for awareness that change is critical, but only if it's the right kind of change. Two twin disciplines will help support this mindset for business professionals seeking to learn from the COVID environment.
   First is the ability to pause for real reflection and use personal experience as a part of that reflection. The capacity for self-reflection may be the most enduring professional capability to emerge from the COVID landscape to date--to do it well is to evolve our judgment through adaptive decision-making and discernment. In other words, looking backward must be linked to looking forward.
   This makes perfect sense, of course, but it rarely happens--we are too busy in many aspects of our lives to pause for anything much less a deep and quiet reflection on our life’s journey. But, extraordinary leaders are taking the time to reflect as a part of their drive for exceptional results.
   It is simply not enough to have experience in this environment--without the accompanying self-reflection, learning will not occur at a meaningful level. Experience is backward-looking and to link it to reflection is to apply it to the future.
   This learning can even take the form of something as simple as one written thought a day, a journal, or a narrative story at the end of the day.
   This practice may sound cerebral, but the latest research around leadership and neuroscience indicates a remarkable power in deliberate reflection amidst the pandemic as a key to personal resiliency, redemption amidst adversity, and old-fashioned implementation.