Jill Jenkinson February 16 2023

Making feedback count and convert

Jill Jenkinson discusses how you could support a team to take the feedback they receive through Truth Teller and turn this into tangible behaviour change they can track using Goal Mentor...

Very often I meet seasoned, senior managers who have done very well, doing what they are doing and have done for a long time. Suddenly they hit a lull or pause. They are seen as good solid performers but somehow lacking the potential for the next significant upward move.

So, we collect feedback, in order to get data into the debate, and in our world, it’s often hard-hitting in the form of a Truth Tellers report – there’s no dodging or avoiding the messages there!

Then comes the conversation, it can cause a reaction, a sharp intake of breath but its data, shared in the spirit of openness and learning so most move from discounting to counting quickly. A mirroring of that process can also take place in teams receiving truth teller data that describes how they are seen, experienced and yes viewed as capable of. Again awareness is heightened quickly when evidenced through straightforward feedback, representing a wide spectrum of views. In both these examples, the most interesting question is around knowledge and discovery. Most managers and teams, faced with data would say it is no big surprise. They would even concede it's not a new issue, they have had feedback on it before – consistently and frequently. So what is it going to take – to be fixed, to make it go away?

For me, it's not just about the feedback and the corresponding conversation. It’s what happens next. Don’t we all recognise we have great intentions – but are a lot flakier around the follow-up! That’s the space goal mentor inhabits, that gap between great intentions and a consistent plan to act. It requires goals to be set, that’s the easy bit, but also that goals are shared and progress measured through a group of stakeholders who will keep you on track. It can sit within a development conversation or within a development programme and give structure and rigor at the point when somebody needs to translate feedback into action and sustained improvement and change.

I guess it comes back like most things to human nature. If we want to make a change, making it the best-kept secret is unlikely to help. Commit to it, then share that intention with others. Ask them to look out for progress and slips and suddenly it’s not just down to you to stick to it. You have recruited a tribe! Goal Mentor provides the mechanism to make that easy and hold people to account for the things that they set as goals and commitments. Sometimes uncomfortable but always more likely to get a change to happen and stick. Reminds me of all the stuff I’ve quite possibly not stuck to… back to the gym and move away from the chocolate!


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