Mark Graham on How Reflecting at Work Improves Job Performance

In Chapter 12 of 17 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, digital media executive Mark Graham answers "What Role Has Reflection Played in Shaping Your Personal Growth?"  Working in digital media producing Internet content, Graham uses reflection to help his team grow and learn from its mistakes and successes.  Personally, Graham finds reflection valuable assessing achievements and reviewing how his personal relationships are growing over time. 

Mark Graham is currently a managing editor at VH1, an MTV Networks company. Previously Graham worked in editing and writing roles at New York Magazine and Gawker Media.  He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English. 


Erik Michielsen: What role has reflection played in shaping your personal growth?

Mark Graham: Reflection is certainly very important. One of the great things that I really love about producing content for the internet is that everything is very, very measurable. At the end of every month, I put together a report for our team to show our team’s performance over that month in terms of which stories were popular, which stories got shared a lot, which videos got viewed the most. You know, really helping sort of us learn from our successes and also taking a look at projects that we had high hopes for that maybe fell a little bit flatter than we had originally pegged them to. 

So reflection in that particular aspect is certainly very important to me on a professional level, understanding, learning from our mistakes, helping to continue to grow for the future using the analytical tools we have available to us to be able to help motivate the team, show them things that they did well, and like I said, things that we continue to learn on. 

And my personal life it’s very important as well, you know, opportunities like this to sort of look back over the last year of your career, things that you achieved, things that you hoped you’d achieve and maybe didn’t quite get there, I think that that’s very important as well and it’s—you know, as someone who is sort of is constantly chronicling in their life on the internet through blog posts and Twitter feeds, and Tumblr posts, and Facebook—things like that. It’s always fun for me to sort of go back every couple of months and sort of take stock of what’s happened in my life, be thankful, be appreciative for the blessings that I have, the friends that I have, the relationships that I’ve made, both personally and professionally, and you know, it’s really I think important to take time to savor that stuff. That’s not to say to dwell on it or spend extensive amounts of time looking back at the past but, you know, I’m a fan of nostalgia, and it’s always good to look back at successes you’ve had and things you’ve done well and use them as motivation for the future.