Is feedback for fools?

feedbackAt first, ‘How did we do?’ sounds like a question designed around self-improvement, right? Wrong. It’s usually a worthless platitude on par with a client/supplier asking, ‘How are you?’ They don’t care that you had toothache or a head cold last month and that your fridge packed up last night.

The overriding majority of people who’ll ask ‘How did I do?’ or ‘What do you think of my new widget’ already have a strong opinion before they ask, and are unlikely to be open enough to have you or others change it. The course has been set, the training is done, people have been hired, the script is written, the ads are booked, the product is in play – don’t make me change all that.

Next time you’re asked, ask them what they do with the feedback? If the project manager was outstanding does he/she get that fed into their appraisal system? Perhaps they qualify for a bonus? If the sales training was a dire waste of time, will the course be changed? Bottom line: will the feedback be actionable or are we just making polite platitudes?

If I’m fortunate enough to receive your feedback I’ll want your unfaltering honest opinions, not some lame schmoozing which equates to a lie. And ‘good’ or ‘nice’ do me no favours either because they don’t help me change and improve what I’m doing – they cry for more of the same (which doesn’t take me forward).

I’ll take the whole truth please. How about you and your team?

Photo credit: Gaetan Lee

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