Feedback is good. Without it, how do I improve?
“So, all I have to do, Beth, is push this button to evaluate you?” I asked incredulously.
“Yep. That’s right,” said Beth, an outstanding Colorado State government team member. Smiling, she handed me new license plates for a car we’d just bought.
My first thought as I pressed the EXCELLENT button: Glad my wife doesn’t have one of these for me at home!
My next thought:
This is exactly as it should be.
Feedback is good. Without it, how do I improve? How else can one become outstanding?
In The Beginning …
When I began speaking professionally in 1995, I had a bit of raw talent, tons of energy, and too many ideas. By 1997, when my buddy, author of “Raise Your Inner Game,” David Levin, came to see me speak in downtown Minneapolis to a crowd of 1,500, well—he felt the need to call me the next day.
He had … feedback.
Though I was on Cloud Nine—my co-speaker the night before had been the famous former Notre Dame football coach, Lou Holtz—David had this to say: “You know, I can take you higher.”
“Wha … ?!? How can you do that, Dave? Come on, man—I’ve arrived!” 😎
He responded calmly, “You just need some feedback.”
He was right. I did. Who doesn’t?
Service providers, musicians, the NFL, employees, bosses, spouses, children, church pastors, volunteers—who can’t learn, grow, and change through feedback?
I recently posted thoughts on LinkedIn (link with me here) about the largest coffeehouse chain in the world. I shared some feedback one of their baristas had given me related to a clearly under-trained Denver store manager’s behaviors and actions. I didn’t name any individual; it was not personal.
The next day a district manager with this mega-firm from California confronted me publicly on LinkedIn, accusing me of not living the QBQ!
I guess since the QBQ! book/message is all about working to change self by practicing personal accountability, she felt I was out of line. I was not “practicing what I preach.” She then “unfriended” me on that social media platform. Bottom line, she was none too happy with my comments.
When I shared this with my wife, Karen, a much more others-centered human being than I, her first remark was, “Wouldn’t the company want this type of feedback? Shouldn’t that DM be asking you for the store location so the local DM can do some coaching of this store manager?”
Wisdom by Karen. Feedback, the only way to be outstanding.
5 Feedback Questions
1. How good am I at soliciting, hearing, and applying feedback?
2. How openminded to feedback is my organization’s leadership?
3. When feedback is received, how should I respond to the sender?
4. What are the dangers of ignoring feedback?
5. What percentage of customers give us feedback versus walking away, never to do business with us again?
Feedback is like the fingers and hands of the potter, while we are the clay. It’s really the only way through which we are shaped in life.
But let’s get into a discussion. Re-read our 5 questions above and choose one. Then share your thoughts!
Lastly, I am open to feedback on this blog! 😆