Create a Personal Feedback Loop
What do people really think about you and your work?
Do you solicit feedback and opinions?
Are you brave enough to ask for feedback?
This week, I have been working on a number of personal boards for individuals to accelerate to their goals. We’ve mapped goals and stakeholders, taken actions, planned the next big moves and feedback made a regular appearance in the conversations.
Or should I say the lack of feedback…
I don’t know what they think of me
Let’s start at the beginning.
So you are thinking about your career goals and next steps.
You manage to write down the core skills, attributes, experiences and achievements needed to make that step.
You’ve identified the people who have a say in your success.
You press the ‘go’ button and set off on executing your tasks.
That’s when the planning usually stops.
How do you stay on track?
What does everyone else think of your journey?
Do they know what you are striving for? and achieving along the way? Did they even notice?
What was their view of how you are reaching the goal line? Good, bad?
I have spent years career planning with some of the best and brightest in the industry. And yet, those same best and brightest, hardly ever solicit feedback from bosses, peers or stakeholders.
Instead, they push through to their goals hoping that someone will notice what they did or how they did it.
We are frequently in the dark about our brand perception by others.
And when it comes around to promotion time, not only do we avoid asking for feedback but we especially avoid asking about how we compare to the competition.
Why are we not soliciting feedback?
We fear the unknown, so create a narrative in our heads which goes something like this….
- I am so busy doing my job — I am too busy to get feedback
- Will people tell me the truth? Sugar coat the feedback?
- Will it be constructive? Is it really going to help my development?
- Scared of what you might hear?
All of those are valid reasons, but we must listen to the logical part of our brains to actively seek feedback.
Our success depends on the people around us. We need to know what they think. If it’s on track, we continue. If it’s bad or off message, we pivot.
Even if you are a Founder of your own business, with no boss to speak of — you will have investors, the bank manager, customers — all people whose opinion will define your success.
Being apprehensive and nervous is natural, but without the feedback you’ll either become a busy fool desperate to get noticed, paranoid about what others think, narcissistic — or all of the above!
So, let’s push the emotion aside, listen to our logical brains to get some useful feedback to build on. To that end, here are my big tips to getting a good feedback loop:
Create a personal board and ask your board members
One of the biggest concerns on soliciting feedback is that people will be ‘nice’.
I am a big believer in building a personal board — made up of a group of respected industry and personal advisors.
Respect is vital in selecting board members. Your board members, like members of corporate boards, are there to guide and advise, but also to respectfully challenge.
To be able to respectfully challenge, there must be mutual respect to take all feedback in a positive, constructive light.
Tip 1: Ask people you respect for constructive feedback
More heads are better than one
To the personal board point, take feedback from more than one place.
More heads are better than one. The more ideas, perspectives, views — the better.
If the goal is to get a rounded view and opinion — you need more than one piece of the jigsaw.
Tip 2: Ask more than one person for their feedback.
Great questions = feedback to work with
When asking for feedback — ask great questions (ones which do not allow a one word answer).
If you could describe me / my brand in the company in 3 words what would it be?
By framing the question this way, you will get at least 1–2, if not 3 words to work with. You can then determine if your brand matches what it needs to be, or if you need to embark on a change of campaign.
Carla Harris is an incredibly smart, academic, lady who has been a banker at Morgan Stanley for 30ish years. When Carla started her career, Carla thought that hard work and determination would achieve her goals, until she realised how people perceived her was 1) more important than her own perception and 2) if wasn’t necessarily the same as her perception.
In Carla’s books — Expect to Win and Strategize to Win — Carla talks about how important it is to understand what your brand is to other people — then work to ensure the perception matches what you need it to be.
To understand their perception — you need feedback, and plenty of it.
Ask open questions. Be curious about the feedback.
Tip 3: Ask open questions, ideally providing you with more than one answer.
Too busy for feedback? Busy fool…
Harsh, but it’s the reality of personal development.
You can be super busy, hoping that someone will ‘notice you’ but what will they notice you for? Are you projecting the brand you need for the next move?
Perhaps if you ask — describe me in 3 words — ‘busy’ could well be one of them. Not necessarily positive.
We all work too hard and long to not see the spoils of our labour — so let’s get smart about what we need to do vs have to do.
We also shouldn’t be working in a vacuum. The best boards in the world are a diverse collective of individuals. More heads are better than one, so get some help.
Tip 4: Make time to regularly solicit feedback from your board, peers and seniors.
A feedback loop is vital to your success
Regular feedback can save so much work, time and worry.
Maximise your impact this week by taking some time to solicit feedback. Indulge in a moment of feedback to help course correct.
Good quality feedback will accelerate self-awareness and personal development.
Most importantly, feedback will get you to the finish line faster.
If you are interested in additional information and ideas for personal development — sign up to our mailing list for more information here.
Building a Personal Board Events — Eventbrite
Building a Personal Board — Emma Maslen
Strategize to Win — Carla Harris
Expect to Win — Carla Harris