Embracing Reflection: “Hand Reading” to Shape Your Future!
Although we can’t predict the future, we can influence it! At Minkowski we always say that there are multiple possibilities ahead of us, until one becomes a reality. But how do you actively influence your future? How do you work towards that future you wish to see?
Where we will end up in time is always determined by our past and present situation. The more we are aware of our (past) actions and how we can improve, the better we can shape our future. This goes for all of us individually, as much as it goes for teams. After all, we’re usually in it together, right? To reach our desired future together, it’s important to work on great team dynamics. The tool I share will help you get started!
The tool is called ‘hand reading’, and in this context, goes beyond the mystical connotations often associated with the term. Instead, it serves as a metaphorical tool for introspection and self-reflection, not only for you – but also for your whole team.
Knowing yourself and looking forward into the near future both are part of improving how you work, and becoming futures-ready. By engaging in self-reflection you (and your team) can develop a deeper understanding of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This increased self-awareness enables you to identify patterns, biases, or assumptions that may be hindering your personal or the team’s progress. Try it together with your team to better understand each other. You’ll see it will boost your team dynamics, enhance communication, empathy, and collaboration.
Let me share two examples, to show you how you could approach it. If these examples don’t seem to suit your situation perfectly, you’re lucky: this tool is easily tailored to suit your specific circumstances. Here we go!
Example 1: Better understand yourself
Awareness of the effects of your behavior helps you to alter your behavior. Especially when you recognize that different behavior would be more productive.
- Put your hand on a blank piece of paper and draw the outline for your visual support!
- For each finger, note down what it represents:
- Thumb: what am I good at?
- Index finger: what are my bad habits?
- Middle finger: what irritates me (in a situation or in other people)?
- Ring finger: what do I appreciate?
- Pinky: what makes me feel small and insecure?
- Reflect and answer each of these questions.
Example 2: Look into the future
Instead of reflecting on the past and present, try looking into the future. Where do you want to go? What do you want to achieve?
- Again, put your hand on a blank piece of paper and draw the outline.
- This time, your fingers represent the following:
- Thumb: what achievement in the future is going to make you proud?
- Index finger: what is your goal?
- Middle finger: what will you not care about in the future?
- Ring finger: what will you stay loyal to?
- Pinky: how will you grow, or what will you develop in?
- Reflect and answer each of these questions.
Speaking from experience
My personal experience when using it with colleagues (in a safe environment, of course) is that it helps everyone to open up, to speak freely, to listen actively. It helped me to better understand my team members’ character, how they work and how personal life affects work. I’ve had one colleague producing the most brilliant work just hours before a big deadline, and another colleague who got more nervous with every minute we’d get closer to the deadline… Surely this created some frustration, but the conversation that was triggered during our team reflection emphasized that it was never a matter of willingness. They were both willing to produce the best possible work, however their character asked for a different approach determining how to get there. It showed how important it is to be aware of differences within the team.
Some of the questions demand vulnerability, for example when speaking about bad habits and what makes you feel small. I’ve sensed an increased respect amongst everyone, recognising that everyone’s trying their very best while being human – and hence not perfect. Questions about goals and pride got the energy flowing! We were reminded of the fact that we were all in it together, working towards the same desired future.
Reflecting on the past, understanding the present, and envisioning the future are integral parts of personal and professional growth – and ultimately shaping our future. To me, “Hand reading” serves as a valuable tool for self-reflection, by offering an engaging approach to understanding ourselves better and improving the way we work with others. This enables you to design for a clear path forward. And ultimately, doing this exercise with your team can help you unlock your team’s full potential.
I’m curious how this tool helped you and would love to hear about your experience!
Written by Kim Durieux