Monday, February 02, 2015

Space for Feedback

I have a split personality when it comes to feedback. I love it and actively seek it out when I have plenty of time and air to breath. Love it is the wrong word. I know it is good for me and I love the effect it has on what I am doing. Actually receiving it can be awkward depending on who the giver is. An example of my Jekyll & Hyde relationship with feedback is in doing presentations. If I was doing one for a large audience, I would start preparing a few months before and get to the stage where I could do practice runs. Ideally, I would look for varied groups of people to listen to the presentation and then get feedback from them afterwards. Everyone is anal in their own special way, and so it is amazing how even after the 7th or 8th dry run, I would still be making changes. If you are lucky, people are brave rather than polite and are willing to give comment freely. They will not have the context that you have, but that is valuable, since neither will your audience. If the audience do know what you know, there is either no need to do the presentation or it is an exam.

Where my Mr Hyde enters is when the deadline starts approaching. At that point I start rapidly narrowing the circle of people who I am willing to accept and incorporate feedback from beyond a polite thank you (small tweaks and obvious mistakes aside). Democracy/Inclusiveness takes time. It makes people feel better and provides a better outcome, but it can make it very difficult to make a decision. If people are given an opportunity to give feedback early on, it is easier to feel comfortable with the pool of those with impact getting smaller. At some point you get to implementation at which point feedback stops being useful. You just need to get things done. Put. On. The. Ship.

In an ideal world things are always being shipped, and in small increments. If you constrain yourself by forcing single all important decisions, you are going to need to employ a Mr Hyde. Mr Hyde isn't pleasant. The best way for feedback to be less scary is when it becomes exciting. It doesn't pull the carpet out from underneath you because you are always looking for it. The is part of the idea of learning in the open. In 'the Art of learning', Josh Waitzkin talks of how Marcelo Garcia, 5 time world champion in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, places videos of himself training on the web. In the martial arts world this is unusual since people are secretive. Garcia believes if you are focussing on what he is doing, he will be better than you.  Learning in the open provides a wonderful opportunity for constant feedback rather than staking it all on single bets.

The advantage of openness and creating more space and air for feedback is that you are feeding Dr Jekyll, and you can hide your Hyde.



Related Posts:
  1. Effective v Meaningful - 25 Jan 15 - Timing Feedback for the best impact
  2. Fighting Feedback 4 Oct 14 - Receiving feedback can be unpleasant
  3. Instant Feedback and Fat Tails 30 Aug 14 - Connecting feedback to learning
  4. Got time? 21 Dec 09 - Making time for feedback and changes
  5. What do you need to do? 1 Jul 09 - Obvious but you don't do it
  6. Overthinking 12 Feb 09 - Those who care enough don't mind accept mistakes
  7. The Value of Feedback 12 Sep 08 - Can you pay for good feedback?
  8. Sucking the Joy 4 Aug 08 - When feedback is a kill joy & you'd rather not listen. 
  9. Feedback Loop 20 Jun 08 - Who is best placed to be your feedback loop?
  10. Feedback Loop 27 Jun 08 - Finding people who disagree and the Golden Standard



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