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Learn From Feedback

Are you getting all the feedback that you need - or do you sometimes avoid it because you won't like what it says?

I've been known to avoid some critical feedback. It doesn't make me feel good. Sometimes, there's nothing that I can do about it anyway. But, by avoiding the feedback altogether I could miss the piece of positive feedback inside, or the advice that truly matters, or an opportunity to communicate more clearly and reach better understandings and agreements.

Feedback can feel like hard work, but it's worth it.

If we want to achieve our biggest goals it helps to know how we're doing along the way.

Goal achievers learn from feedback every day.

We don't have to apply every piece of feedback. And for heaven's sake, we don't have to take it personally. As my much respected graduate school professor Dr. Jay Desko has said, "feedback says more about the person providing the feedback than it does about the person receiving the feedback." …

Take the Feedback

Feedback can be hard to take but far worse to ignore.

Take the feedback. What you do with it is your business, but take it. Hear it. Stay curious. Move ahead.

-- doug smith


Compassionate Feedback

What do you do when you know that your feedback for someone on your team will be tough to hear?

Before I learned better, I would sometimes just keep the feedback to myself. I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, after all. And they made it this far without that feedback so...

But that's not the most compassionate approach. Withholding something that could make someone's life and performance better is not being sensitive, it's being ineffective. Tell them what's going on. Tell them what you are thinking. Offer your suggestions.

It can still be kind. It can even be graceful. It might even contain a bit of humor. But it's best as feedback when it is clear and to the point.

Prepare for that difficult feedback. You already know that there are right ways and wrong ways to deliver feedback. Plan, and practice. Get it right.

Before you give feedback imagine how it would feel to hear that directed at you -- and then adjust accordingly.
Be the boss you always wante…

Keep Getting Feedback

Are you a strong boss?

Are you totally sure of yourself?

Is your team a wild success?

Get feedback. Pay attention. Assume nothing.

The stronger the boss, the more compelling is the need for honest feedback.

Promote honest feedback, listen, and continually improve.

-- Doug Smith


How Is Your Toolbox?

Do you rely on the same methods of work over and over again? Have you been using the same tools for years without reflecting on why?
My dad was a weekend woodworker. He worked in a glass factory as a supervisor most of his life, but he was also a skilled craftsmen. He even built our house. He didn't know everything about every craft, but he found ways to learn. He mainly learned by helping.
When the contracted plumber installed the plumbing in the house he was building, he helped the plumber.
When the electrician installed all of the wiring and circuits and kept everything up to code, my dad helped. He followed orders. He did the heavy lifting. He listened attentively. And, he helped. Not so that he could install plumbing or electricity in future houses (he never did) but so that he could FIX whatever malfunction occurred later in his own home.
He saw which tools he'd need. He learned how to think thru a problem. He found the boundaries of his knowledge so that he'd know when …

Start With A Question

How do I know when I'm wrong?
Have you ever thought about that? I know when I'm right -- don't you? But, there's my question. Don't I always feel like I'm right? Why else would I feel what I feel? Why else would I think what I think?
There have been times -- well, OK, YEARS when I have clung to an idea that I thought was completely right only to discover later that it was not as clearly right as I thought. Things are usually more complicated than we give them credit for. What once made sense, over time, can take on new meaning or change completely.
We're going thru a LOT of that now. Things are changing faster and faster. Ideas are morphing and transforming and fizzling and sizzling all over every day. What do we do with all that? 
The more we cling to something that is wrong (inaccurate, unhelpful, disrespectful) the less good it does us or anyone else. Why do we do it?
Sometimes, we don't know what we don't know. 
It's like a moment in time, on a sl…

Redirect to the Center

How have you been lately?
Disrupted, interrupted, upset? It's a journey through more surprises than any of us figured on. Predictable perhaps, planned for, umm, no.
We deal with one crisis after another, day after day. As a dear friend of mine once said (and I paraphrase) "you can have a problem and your upset, or you can have your problem and no upset. Either way you have to deal with it. Why not deal with one problem instead of two?"
Things will throw us off-center. There's no benefit to getting upset about being upset. Instead, redirect back to the center.
Breathe.
-- doug smith

Common Ground

This is a guest entry from my good friend and fraternity brother, David Spiegel. Dave runs, co-runs, and helps keep going some great businesses. He also is a kind soul with a dry sense of humor. Here's Dave:Common GroundThere can be no doubt that we are living in highly polarized times. Passions, feelings, and tempers can be inflamed in an instant. This diversity is increasing on a daily basis.Still, I believe when we act as mature rational individuals, we can and will be able to find common ground. Take the relationship between my good friend and fraternity brother Doug and myself.One of us is true blue.The other one's blood runs as red as the stripes on the flag.We never argue about it. In fact, I can't ever remember it ever being an issue. Of course when we meet at our frat's yearly get together and one of us is wearing a red hat the other one naturally tends to bristle a bit. Still, we respect each other and value each other's opinion, no matter how misguided.Y…