Journey to Genius

Feedback the fuel of success

Speak up for success or suffer in silence? Its your choice….make it a good one.

Solving the feedback dilemma.

None = No control 
      Too much  = Out of control 
             Negative  = Control but de-motivation
                   Positive = Control and motivation

Where do you stand in the Feedback Dilemma?    

All humans have a continuing need for recognition. We crave attention and want to be noticed. Anything is better than being ignored! Feedback is natural and our bodies are preprogrammed to receive it and hard wired to process it. Its too hot or too cold. Its too bright or too noisy. Hey don’t get too close, who do you think you are!

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) in his original work on the human needs and motivations wrote that after physiological and survival needs human’s next most demanding need is recognition.

Maslow’s premise was only through fulfillment of our need for recognition will we be able to ascend our hierarchical Pyramid of needs to the ultimate goal of self fulfillment. In recent times Maslow’s hierarchy has been disputed yet the fundamental needs still remain. In general, humans desire to meet as many needs as they can simultaneously. So recognition at any time in any form is always appreciated.

So we need feedback both as a fuel and direction for our journey through life, BUT when a colleague says ‘may I give you some feedback?’ or the Boss says “please come into my office I have some feedback to share with you.” Do we really want it? 

When your wife asks “Honey how do I look?” she has certain expectations!! When a stranger asks “How’s it going?” do they really want an answer?

Our development through childhood, education, social networks has typically been based on being asked or shown how to do things.  We are told what to do, we do it, and we wait for feedback to see how well we did. This may start with a “good job – well done” and then sadly is almost always focused more on the gap to meeting expectations rather than specific endorsement of what you achieved. Remember the time you brought home that school report with 5 A’s 1 B and 1 D!!  If only 70% of the discussion had been on the A’s….  but it rarely was!

The production manager walks down an assembly line looking at progress, where does he stop? To comment on something done well, or next to something he doesn’t want to see? 
You drive to work how many drivers did you pass who were better drivers than you?   Or perhaps like so many you only really noticed the few ones that were ‘idiots’!!!

So why the dilemma?

It’s something we need,  and in some way crave, especially when it is positive! 
Yet we typically don’t like inviting it, and we do not take the opportunity to  mine positive comments for the precious details. All too often, people notice what they don’t like, rather than what they do like. When you feel motivated/compelled to offer feedback do you offer criticisms or compliments?

The solution to this dilemma is to reprogram our view on feedback. Invite it, “Speak for success.” 
When you get out of bed in the morning it’s a new opportunity to live another day to its fullest. Unless you have received some feedback about how to improve today over yesterday, each day, each week will be the ‘same.’ Life becomes monotonous. Life becomes dull and we ‘suffer in silence.’ 

Feedback is to be solicited at every opportunity. With it comes the opportunity to grow and improve our future. It is a positive challenge to our friends, colleagues and sometimes even strangers. Yet it has double benefits since it helps you and the solicitation encourages others to be helpful. We can additionally offer unsolicited feedback to others. Do you help others with your purposeful comments actions and observations?

Now what if all this feedback isn’t what we want to hear? We all know how to suffer in silence! It’s often said there are no bad answers just bad questions. It is essential in this new ‘positive feedback’ world to ask the right sort of questions.  Speak out for success….

Not  – How did I do?   
Ask  – How well did I do?  –  How can I improve?

Not – Tell me what you think? 
Ask  – What exactly did you like best? –  What can I add to make it better?

Not – How is it going?  
Ask – How well is it going?  – What help do you need?

When the feedback is from someone in authority, you may not get the opportunity to ask first! Once given ask questions to clarify and acknowledge the facts presented. Confirm what action should be taken to improve next time. What coaching and support would be beneficial?

Speak up for Success 

Ask  – it’s your life and your responsibility, ask good questions.
  Open  question + Positive inquiry + Future focused  
Example – How can I do better next time?
Give good timely feedback.
Personal recognition + motivation + constructive concrete observations/advice.

Example –  John, I enjoyed listening to your presentation this morning and found it informative. I believe it can be improved before you give it again tomorrow, and one suggestion would be:  Your introduction of “ we don’t know what we are doing” embarrassed some and set an unhelpful negative tone from the outset. A more neutral start would be a rhetorical question,” What are we trying to do?” ….What benefits do you see in adopting this approach?

Speak up for Success,  then the dilemma is solved.  Either giving or receiving becomes a win-win outcome, both parties achieve recognition of some form.

Look positively to the future, and explore ways  to get there and beyond!

Please join me in the feedback revolution, don’t suffer in silence, speak up for success. We want as much of the right sort of feedback as we can get and we will challenge others to help themselves and help us get out of bed on a new day and live it to its fullest potential.

Good luck and please give me some feedback…