Saturday, 20 July 2013

Get with the programme...

...and the programme is relevant feedback!

It's coming up to mid-year review time for many people across the globe, which means only one thing - an influx of feedback requests.  I've blogged in an earlier post (Breakfast of Champions) about some elements of giving feedback, but today I feel the need to put some focus on the 'relevance' of the feedback you are giving, and specifically the timeliness.

As you're completing the 20th request for feedback, have a think to yourself as you're dishing out your thoughts
- when is this feedback from? 
- is it still relevant* for the colleague?
- have I got some recent (and great quality) examples to bring it to life?

*I ask the second question about relevance on purpose, as I think this is the exception to the rule because if the feedback is 12 months old but still something that you think is holding the other person back then you need to say it.

Out of date comments could mean the person a) can't do a thing about it or b) they've worked on it already (and you're not close enough to know) now is the time to keep quiet.  It's very flattering to be asked your opinion on how someone is doing and get your input into their development, but do this frustrated questioner a favour - leave your now massaged ego at the door and resist the tempation to type/write/talk about something that happened 18 months ago and hasn't resurfaced since.

There is another side to this, and that is those requesting feedback need to consider who they're asking for input from. Asking people who you've only had a couple of experiences with at best is unlikely to end in quality feedback.  When you're making your list about who to ask, think who can add value and insight for you not just people who you've had a one off positive experience with who will give you a boost.

Quality feedback is few and far between, but little by little we can all make in roads together.

Happy weekend x

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


A oldie but a goodie, the simple question of 'why?' Is going to be the focus for my next post.

Whenever I'm coaching or mentoring someone I like to start by understanding what their drivers are - their reason for change, the final straw, the epiphany...or simply just why they want to make a change and or achieve something new.

So here comes my first question - do you ever find yourself starting something and giving up before it's done? Well, that's most likely down to you not having a strong enough reason for making the change - your 'why'.  It's one of my favourite principles coined in Go MAD - The art of making a difference, where Andy Gilbert quotes Fredrick Nietsche who very wisely says that 'a person can bear any what if they have a big enough why'. Insightful hey?

As ever, you're not in it alone though, so if you want to do a review of your whys, here are some questions to help you get clarity:
- what is super important to you?
- what will happen if you don't make the change?
- what motivates you to make a change?
- how are you going to surround yourself  with your motivators?
- what's the plan now?

Don't be hard on yourself if you're giving up on things, you just need to spend some time thinking about your reasons why. If you don't spend time thinking about it...then you can be very hard on yourself!

Happy reviewing x

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Time and a place...

We're on the home straight...the final component in a thinking environment is Place - the importance of where you are having your meeting / brain storming session / catch up / heart to heart (delete as appropriate).

We were edging into this component in an earlier post about 'Ease' but now the spotlight is firmly on it, and it's time to ask yourself some questions about the kind of meeting environments you find yourself in as well as creating.

Now here comes a very deliberate leading question...when have you had a conversation in a really inappropriate place?
- what was the conversation about?
- what was the outcome?
- on reflection, did the environment play any part on the outcome?
- why did you have it in that location?
- if you could have the conversation again, where would you have it?

If you can't think of an example, then imagine some of the worst places to have a conversation - what could the impact on a conversation be?

Now let's get positive...where's the perfect place to have a meeting or conversation?  You might now have a list of different locations in your head and probably saying to me 'well it depends on the conversation obviously'...and you'd be quite right but I'm really just getting you to have a good long think about all the possibilities.

The theory behind this is that if someone is in an environment conducive to clear and fresh thinking, where they feel safe and secure they will be at their best (think Maslow's hierarchy of needs, worth a Google if you've not come across it!).  So the next time you're planning a meeting, no matter how impromptu, put some thought into the location or you could be in for an uncomfortable situation.

Happy chatting x