How to Know What IS and ISN'T Working

The other day I was in a meeting with a client, talking about the positives and negatives of a program I have been delivering. She told me what was working for the participants and what wasn’t working for them; we talked about ways to adjust the program for the better.
In case you don't recognize it, this is feedback.

Feedback is “information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.” - Oxford language dictionary online

Information. That’s all. It’s not criticism, blame, threats, or a referendum on your worthiness as a human. At least, it shouldn’t be!
What makes feedback work well? Two people in an open state-of-mind.
The feedback giver should be clear and kind, and have an intention of helpfulness. The feedback receiver should be curious, open and receptive to the value embedded in the message. When these two things are true, feedback is a learning conversation that can give us a powerful boost to higher levels of performance and success.
In fact, fabulous, free-flowing feedback is the hallmark of a learning culture. When teams can engage in regular analysis of what is working and what is not working, rapid innovation becomes possible. Think about it.
    •    When I’m willing to innovate, I can rise to the top of my game.
    •    When my team is willing to innovate, we can work smarter and better together.
    •    When my organization is willing to innovate, we can produce the best product or service, and have a competitive edge when times are tough.

Fabulous, free-flowing feedback is at the heart of all of this!
So - if you haven’t received or given some fabulous feedback recently, here are a few tips. Start by asking for it!

  • Open the feedback loop purposefully. Otherwise, you probably won’t get much. Instead of, “Can you give me some feedback?” try, “How can I make this product or service better for you?” (This invites the other person into the conversation in a positive way.)
  • Be open to it when you get it (even if the feedback isn’t delivered perfectly.) Listen. Say to yourself, “I can learn from this.” Problem-solve so that you come up with a better way, and thank the person for being honest.

Give feedback with care.

Up front, be clear about your expectations. Saying, “This needs to be a 1-page document.” is more specific than, “Can you write something about this program?” When we provide clear expectations from the start, then we can easily give feedback based on those “outcome-expectations” and it will feel less personal.

  • Stay focused on the outcomes, the product, or the impact. Instead of, “You’re not a team player,” try, “I need to see you interacting with your team members and engaging in the conversation on a daily
  • Preface your feedback by stating your clear and kind intention. “I’d like to talk with you about your team interaction, because I want to help you be successful with your peers and in your role.”
  • Give feedback regularly. The more “free-flowing” your feedback is, the more normal these conversations will become.
  • Give 7-10 positive forms of feedback (recognize the good stuff, out-loud, all the time) for every one “constructive.” Positive feedback is a powerful tool for behavior shaping, as we all love to do MORE of the things that are resulting in praise.

When feedback is fabulous (well intentioned and delivered), and free-flowing (frequent, with lots of positives), it will become the foundation for a high-performing team with a learning-culture!
Let me know:
    •    When was the last time you received some fabulous feedback?
    •    What is your general feedback experience?
    •    Who could you ask to give you feedback today?

P.S. If you are looking to improve performance in leaps and bounds, feedback is KEY! Creating a culture of learning and feedback is at the heart of my upcoming course, “Coaching for Excellence.” We have a class specifically devoted to tools for taking a team approach to feedback so that you can accelerate your team’s performance! (We call it, “Coaching the Team”). This class is only offered once per year, so don’t miss it!

Learn more here: ClaireLaughlin.com/Coaching-For-Excellence-LIVE

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