“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

According to that great oracle ‘Wikipedia’, “The core of Confucianism is humanism, the belief that human beings are teachable, improvable and perfectible through personal and communal endeavour especially including self-cultivation and self-creation.”

I was reflecting on these principles and how in today’s workplace we tend to have them in reverse, with a primary focus on learning by doing, trying things out, or trial and error.

So, how could we follow these principles in practice?  Here’s some ideas….


Weekly reflection on what worked well and what could be done differently or better

Weekly reflection meetings with team members on events of the past week and what was experienced and learnt


Looking for best practice / role models in your field and adopting some of their methods

Learning and adoption of your organisation’s cultural traits and working in a way that reflects those values (assuming they are aligned with your own values of course)


Active experimentation

Learning by doing

Testing change management, communication and training methods with your colleagues to fine-tune and improve them