Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Feedback

We love it or hate it but it's everywhere. Whether part of a formal process within a job or just advice offered by friends & family, we give it and hear it all the time. It's part of the mentoring process, part of building trust and a mirror in which we can grow and make choices.

The trick is how to distinguish between good feedback and unmerited commentary or criticism?

If I receive unsolicited feedback, and the giver doesn't ask if I'm open to hearing her comments, I will often disregard the advice or idea just because I'm human. I get defensive; it may not play to what I want to hear that moment; or I may not like the giver.

The way I balance feedback is by asking it for it. I create the opportunity and request thoughtful input.
Feedback is often most useful when we ask for it, listen to it, and action it. The action can be as small as thinking it through or as large as trying something new.

Without feedback, I would never have started wearing blue… never applied for a certain job… never re-considered a word choice…

Feedback won't change…but we can.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

small talk (ick)

I am not good at small talk. I prefer to listen than search my brain (which will have suddenly gone blank) for something innocuous to say. So called "safe" topics (like the weather) make me sound silly. I tend to dive into topics about which I have passion and say trite things about those which don't bother me at the moment… usually making no new friends with those for whom the trite is their current passion.

Small talk is meant to "break the ice" with strangers and allow for connections points to emerge. It serves a great purpose.

Given it's patio season /garden party time, small talk opportunities are ramping up. I'm reviewing my previous posts and figuring out some good opening lines that, hopefully, will kick start someone else into talking and I can settle in and listen.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

When you are busy, ask more questions

It seems like the faster we go, the less we question what we are doing or why. Yet, many agree it takes more effort to undo /correct than it does to take an extra moment the first time around.

Here's some simple advice, often forgotten, that my kid prompted me with the other day:
"Why is this important?" (vision, risks, urgency)
and
"Who can help?" (dependencies, support, impacts)

Ask yourself. Ask your manager when getting an assignment. Ask your co-worker who is racing about. Ask your kid stuck on homework. As your friends…

Maybe you'll save time taking time?