The Gift of Feedback

The photo above is some “found art” at Brains on Fire, left over from a client project. Don’t you love it?

Last week, Geno and John and I were visiting with an very interesting potential client.

I love that part of my job, meeting new and interesting people.

As we shared a couple of stories to show how we think and as we explained our process, the CEO of this organization stopped us mid sentence and gave us some of the most direct and honest feedback I’ve ever received in a meeting.

It was clear and specific and well… sort of hard to hear. 

But it absolutely delighted me. Because what he pointed out  is something I’m certain will make us better at explaining ourselves the next go around.

I knew right away what we needed to DO.

As we continued to talk, they told us one of their core beliefs is something they try to practice daily.

 They believe that “feedback is a gift.”

Most of us would agree with that very simple leadership statement. But how many people really practice seeing feedback as a gift?

When you reframe feedback as a gift, suddenly you find it easy to be honest and truthful. You don’t feel the need to sugar coat or sandwich feedback between praise.

The purpose of giving someone feedback is not to make them feel better, but help them DO better.

Feedback is how we all grow. In fact, the more you know about a subject, the more critical feedback becomes. Deep down everyone wants to know the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear.

When I reflect on the qualities of the people I most enjoy working for and with, it’s absolutely the truth tellers. The people who tell it like it is with the intention of making things better.

 So here’s my challenge for you today.

Study how you give and take feedback all during the day.

Keep a little running list of the feedback you give and get. What makes some feedback better than others? How can you get better at both giving and listening and responding to feedback?

Or just take a few minutes and share your stories. Has feedback ever been an amazing gift to you? How has it made you DO better?

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