My sister has always been intrigued about my constant craving and desire to have feedback and not being sensitive to it. She’s always feels like when she gets feedback, that she’s getting criticized. She wanted to know my secret.

There secret is, I look at feedback like data. It’s just another input. Data is really important, just look at Big Data/ Machine Learning and AI, they are always looking for ways to gather predictive data in order to be able to plan and mitigate risks.

This episode will talk about feedback from 3 perspective:

  1. How to receive the feedback
  2. How to provide feedback
  3. How to use feedback

Having data from multiple sources, just allows me to see my blind spots.

I don’t know, what i don’t know and that’s where feedback fits in.

Feedback allows you to see how others are receiving the communication and the perception that others may have. Sometimes, those perceptions are not what we want. But, that feedback really allows you to see what we may need to change.

When we start to uncover what we don’t know then we are able to understand what we don’t know and make appropriate plans to change that perception. It really helps us identify our blind spots and the expectations.

Maybe the role that we are in, isn’t the right fit for our personality. Maybe the role requires constant relationship building and you’re not a people person. You prefer to come in, log into the system and deliver reports.

How to receive the feedback

As the year end comes, we are probably going to be getting our year end feedback from our bosses. We all hope for great feedback, so that we can get our bonuses. However, it’s make or break it.

If we don’t get great feedback, then our bosses don’t appreciate us and it starts a downward cycle. If we get great feedback, then we get comfortable in our skin and always feel like the smartest person in the room. It’s hard to not take feedback as personal. Think about all those internet trolls, that just need a hug and some love. (Anyways, I digress)

Getting feedback is a tricky process. People don’t like to get feedback. It’s a little scary. Think about athletes. They work on their skill and get feedback in order to improve their skills. So, think about our jobs – we are like athletes in a particular field, division, department.

We need the feedback for us to see how we can improve our skills in our sport. However, let’s be honest. Not a lot of managers are great at giving feedback.

  • First, you need to see how you personally deal with feedback.
  • How do you deal with feedback that you receive, don’t forget about your non-verbal queues.  

Maybe you roll your eyes, huff and puff or just get ready to argue. How can we change that?  Maybe you just need to change the narrative. Change the question ‘what can we do better?”.

Specific feedback is great because it allows us to focus on ‘What can we do better?’, which is much more positive and looks at the opportunities around us.  

Our ego is built to protect us from negative emotions, so we need to change the narrative. So, that we don’t do self projection and it is there that it is time to change our mindset. We are looking for opportunities to strengthen our talent (our sport), our relationships and perceptions and to find new Opportunities.

Opportunities is what keeps us motivated- it’s the carrot dangling at the end of the stick!

How to provide feedback

When we are getting feedback – we are looking for the opportunities for what we can do better and what does fine tuning our skills take us. Use this as an opportunity to talk about career paths, progressions and other marketable skills. What a great time to justify taking a course to further become marketable.

Let’s talk about some typical feedback mistakes:

  1. Not giving or receiving feedback in a timely manner. I always provide feedback as something happens. Why wait till the year end to remind someone of something that happened 10 months ago.
    • Let’s be clear –  I can barely remember what I had for breakfast three (3) days ago. Details get distorted and memories fade. Just think about all those crime shows, where the police isolate potential witnesses to get their statements right away. Not, 2 days later, 10 months later… it’s immediately.
    • Second issue I have with this approach, is that you didn’t give me the opportunity to correct something for 10 months.

2. Providing vague feedback – this is really frustrating. It’s my pet peeve when someone provides a theoretical answer to things versus a tactical example. We need to make sure that the feedback is specific and that also shows the downstream impact.

Also, using specific examples allows us to see whether there is a trend.  Is this happening from a process perspective, project perspective, stakeholder perspective.  Where is it coming from? How is it happening?

That really enables us to figure out, how we can make improvements by getting really great details. And talking about it, from a partnership perspective.  

3. Here is my favorite mistake – not proactively asking your key stakeholders for feedback to send to your boss/career counselor. Why are we waiting for our bosses. We need to take control of our destiny.

In another future episode, I’ll teach you some tricks of what management consultants use in order to get promoted. It’s a time tested tool that I’ve been using forever and with my coaching clients. Speaking of proactive feedback, It is an amazing temperature check tool.

Be the driver of your own destiny!

How to use feedback

I’ve used this for organizational change management for many many years. For example, I had launched a lot of training courses, with the associated training plans in order for the marketing organization to be able to use the new system and tools.

One day, one of my key stakeholders (my main client, the one that pays the bills) – had told me that he was in one of the big executive meetings where the Chief Marketing Officer had surprised him with some feedback.

That the CMO didn’t receive any training for her marketing organization. This CMO, had a lot of power and influence in the organization and across the C’Suite. She was a key and major stakeholder, that I couldn’t ignore.

It was odd to me, that she didn’t feel that her marketing department had received the training. I had done all the right things, I developed a curriculum, socialized it and gathered feedback from many of her senior managers and delivered the training and got rave reviews.

So, why did she have that perception? I didn’t understand that disconnect. So, I booked a meeting to uncover what was really going on under the hood.  

The meeting was amazing – it was such an eye opener.  She knew that her team had received the training, but she didn’t feel that her team was equipped to be the marketers of the 21st century.  

AHA! That was a completely different problem that needed to be solved. I was solving the problem of getting the organization to use a new system that had been purchased. Her problem was different. She wanted to solve the question “does her team have the right skill set to be exceptional marketers?”. Completely, two different issues.

One was around a system to add to their existing skills.  The second one, was around their existing skill sets. Now, for consultants – this is an opportunity. A cross-selling opportunity that enabled future sales.

The end result was, that we did a skill set mapping exercise, re-designed her marketing department and sold additional training to get her team equipped. We had designed it with her and this strengthen our relationship.

So, that is a client example of how to utilize feedback.

We can easily change perception, once we uncover what that perception is and that is from feedback. Feedback is a gift.. In fact, there was a great book called the The Present: The Gift for Changing Times Hardcover by Spencer Johnson M.D.

Now, I’d be silly to NOT to ask for feedback. I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts on this episode. You can leave feedback in a review on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcast player, iHeart Radio, Spotify and the list goes on.  You can also just email me at Sapna@CanInnovate.io

Don’t we want to be better tomorrow, than today.  

Isn’t that the idea of new year's resolutions?  We are all on a path to continuous improvement, or we’d be bored and become walking zombies.  

I can’t wait to hear about your feedback and better yet, I can wait to hear about the new mysteries that you’re about to uncover!

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