Wow! What an amazing month April’s been for fabulous feelings and philosophies on feedback! 33 posts all together! Impressive stuff and a great wealth of insight has been created on a topic which is clearly an area of work that continues to need some attention so that we can improve.
Thank you to everyone who’s contributed. It’s only because of you that this curation is possible and able to benefit others with this same challenge.
It all started with a post I began to write after a Pilates class…..
“Every week in my Pilates class there’s at least one of us that needs help to perfect a move.
> Sit right back, put all the weight into your heels so you can lift your toes. > Keep your hips facing forward and twist at the waist. > Lift your chest keeping your back in neutral.
And we adjust what we’re doing and then go “Oh! That’s how it’s meant to feel”.
And sometimes words aren’t enough and our instructor needs to come and show us one-to-one. Perhaps just visibly. Perhaps physically adjusting our bodies for us so we can really feel the difference.
We think we’re copying her when she stands at the front of the class. And yet sometimes we’re just not. Sometimes we’re really completely oblivious to how our own bodies are actually moving.
Timothy Gallwey talks about this in The Inner Game of Tennis. How he has to get players to stand somewhere that they can see their reflection so they can watch their swing. And then they see “Oh! I really am finishing too high”.
Because we really can be oblivious to what we’re actually doing compared to what we’re supposed to be doing – we all have Blind Spots.”
From those origins, the Feedback Carnival was born with this invitation for people to add their thoughts and observations; “Feedback would happen all the time if……”
So this post is my curation of all that insight to bring you some of the thinking that’s out there into one place.
A key point made by David Goddin in his post is that feedback benefits from being observations, not judgements, and so with this post my intention is to share the insights from all the contributions without judgement of whether they are right or wrong, good or bad. They are what they are and you will be able to read; debate with whoever will be helpful for you in that; and choose what is right for you – because some parts will be more helpful in some contexts than others. So while you read, I invite you to have your context and your purpose with feedback in your mind, and maybe start with a question.
What might help you?
What might help those around you?
What might help your organisation?
So, why should we care about feedback? What’s the purpose?
I think without exception, all the writers have believed that feedback is a helpful thing. Helpful for our personal development, and therefore helpful for those around us – and beyond – because it raises our awareness and so enables us to develop and improve what we do and how we do it, which improves ours and others performance, and therefore improves overall organisational results.
Peter Cook wrote a great example of how embracing feedback and doing something about it, coupled with persistence, got him the result he wanted for his career.
Heather Kinzie wrote about our fundamental human need of being wanted – or of receiving attention. This need for attention, which is very obvious in children, remains with us as we grow older, and feedback is one way in which we can meet this need in others. If someone’s given us feedback, they’ve seen us, they’ve noticed us, and they’ve cared enough to say something about it, and that has us feel OK – something Gemma Reucroft experienced when offering feedback to a colleague.
Kandy Woodfield acknowledges the purpose of feedback as providing a sense of belonging, a purpose, aspirational goals and trust in each other.
So the purpose of feedback isn’t just about that external results and performance stuff out there, it’s about the stuff that goes on inside each and every one of us every day. Perhaps if we took care of the internal stuff, the external would be more likely to take care of itself?
So what does that ‘helpful’ feedback place look like?
Many people acknowledge that feedback already happens all around us all the time, if we stop to notice it. However most of the content has focused on improving the ‘traditional’ work-based feedback situation. The place of ‘this is how you’re doing in your job’ or ‘this was the impact on me when you did that’.
As 70:20:10 learning strategies continue to be the focus for improved sustainability of learning, effective feedback will have to be central to that, given that it sits in the 70% of on-the-job learning, and in the 20% of coaching and mentoring, as well as in the 10% of classroom learning which Rachel Burnham picked up on with some practical examples of making feedback part of a learning environment.
Jo Stephenson has a dream for how her future place of feedback will look “I’m dreaming of time when it’s common practice that feedback talk happens as standard, within the 1:1s I’m part of. It’s expected, it’s what we do here. We value it.”
Meg Peppin, Julie Drybrough and Gemma Reucroft all wrote about a place where feedback isn’t a separate ‘thing’ you ‘do’ it’s just part of the conversation between two or more people.