In last week’s Wednesday Wisdom, I concluded that the remedy for a lack of feedback was to “just ask for it.” In hindsight, I mentioned it like an easy, all-in-one solution. And while the concept may actually be simple, it’s not easy.
I met Craig Weber, the author of Conversational Capacity, last week and he put the entire concept of feedback and dialogue in context.
His message was that the goal of any organization is to create an environment that capitalizes on the smarts of the smart people (and they’re all smart people!). This means we need regular, open dialogue about performance regardless of the personality, title or function of the individual (listed as potential barriers in last week’s post). And those regular conversations hold the key to getting feedback.
Craig’s comment, “You can’t check your thinking with your own thinking” resonated with me as it relates to the importance of soliciting feedback.
So, how do you ask for feedback that offers clarity? You have to know what questions to ask.
For those with a ‘strong’ personality, I invite you to solicit feedback that exposes blind spots:
I know I don’t always make people feel comfortable disagreeing with my ideas, but this concept is very important to the success of our product. I value your feedback. Is there anything I may have missed before we move forward?
For those with a manager/supervisor title, I invite you to solicit feedback from your team:
As a member of my team, you have a unique perspective on performance. I value your feedback. What are things you’d like me to start doing? What are things you’d like me to stop doing? What are things you’d like me to continue doing?
For those with perceived functional insulation, I invite you to solicit feedback you wouldn’t naturally receive:
Last month, we rolled out new accounting software. As a shared service department, we understand each business unit has a unique perspective of our performance. We value your feedback. Will you share with us what went well with the roll out and what can be improved? Please respond via email or set up a meeting with me so we can discuss your experience.
Asking the right questions can solicit the feedback necessary to increase self-awareness and minimize blind spots.
What questions do you use to prompt effective dialogue around feedback?