Principal Consultant, Fay Weir, explores how you can see feedback as information, and what impact that information has on you in your control...
There are over 100,000 Google searches every second. That’s over 6 million searches per minute, 350 million searches per hour, and 3 trillion searches per year.
What that tells me is that every single second a lot of people turn to Google to satisfy their curiosity and provide them with information. Actually, thinking about that more, the need for good information in the world today is driving a $247 billion data industry with revenue larger than approximately 120 actual countries' GDP!
We all know our preferences are gold to people who want to sell us stuff. We also know that the value of information is huge for effective operation and decision-making at all levels of business. But do we all know how to find and use the information to sell ourselves, operate more effectively, make good decisions about our behaviour and thus become better leaders or colleagues? Yes, it’s that word we all love, Feedback.
Have you ever considered that feedback is simply information that, when used effectively, can lead to increased success?
There are a number of feedback tools, methods, and frameworks out there to use and your opinion and feeling on these is probably well-established. If for years you have experienced feedback being used as a weapon, you feel it’s not useful or you shudder when the word is mentioned at all… then you have been failed by those supporting your growth.
I would encourage you to see feedback as information, and what impact that information has on you is within your control.
Moving information to knowledge
If you are looking to become better, improve or change in any way you need information. How do others perceive you now? What are the impacts of your behaviours on others?
Feedback is information, the data presented in a way you understand. and to turn that information into knowledge, you need to use it. To learn and experience it, to give it meaning in your context and trust that with time and experience it will lead to deeper understanding, and you making better decisions, that impact your success and ultimately, that is wisdom.
I once heard someone describe it as “Information is who, when, what or where, but knowledge is the why and how.”
So when you have used the t-three 360 tool to gather your information, how do you get the most value from it?
Conscious consideration & decision
1400 universities use predictive analytics to help address low graduation rates. Georgia State took that information and used it to increase its graduation rate by 23%! They took the information and reflected on it, looked for patterns and saw where changes could be made- they turned the information into knowledge. Using that knowledge, they made a positive impact on their students and their own success.
A 360 will tell you what areas you are doing well in. A great place to start, is to think about what effort are you making in this area? What mistakes have you learnt from in the past? Use your learnings and successes here to apply them to other areas that could be improved. Also, how can you share this with your team and help them?
Areas of weakness or challenge will also be identified but it doesn’t mean you immediately need to change everything - that won’t work or last. Focus on one area. Make small but conscious and deliberate actions to change how you think and feel about something and that will change how you act. Pause. When the situation arises again take 90 seconds to respond and not react.
Create a plan
A development plan is a great way to hold yourself accountable and manage a reasonable amount of change over time. It requires effort and energy to change any behaviour, and for that reason, you want to focus on one or two things at a time and not overwhelm yourself. Clear what, how much and by when actions can help you focus on a change that will create a real impact or focus on dialling up a behaviour that is already creating a positive impact.
Cause and effect
The impact or effect you have on others is only half of the story. If you think about feedback provided in your 360 as the effect of your behaviour, to truly make lasting change you have to alter the cause.
Using a tool like Facet5 will provide an understanding of your personality and explain your traits. This can then be used to help you understand why some people who have different traits react in the way they do, see you in the way they do, and feel a certain way when they observe or experience your behaviour.
Don’t let the volume get unbalanced
If for some reason you feel feedback is unfair, unfounded, or not evidenced then you are well within your rights to dismiss it. But always consider the balance. We are not all perfect. How we act on a bad day does not usually create our reputation, but it can impact it.
So if you receive feedback that you feel isn’t representative and you feel is not a usual behaviour dial that down a little – and dial up on the areas that trigger the “yes I do that” or “I can see how that came across like that now” responses even if they come with a little pang of regret in the stomach.
Test the learning. You can do another 360 or simply ask for more feedback from those who provided you with useful information previously. Behaviour change takes time and you should reward yourself with the knowledge that your hard work has paid off by getting more feedback.
We are told knowledge is power.... so, to gain that power over your own behaviour and success as a leader you first need to gather the information. Don’t be afraid of what it tells you. It’s all an opportunity for growth.
Next time you use Google or ask the internet a question, ask yourself a question about how you handled a situation or how much trust you have in your team…. Turn your curiosity to yourself and find that information to build knowledge and wisdom.