Remember we are starting our series with asking for and receiving feedback.
In our first blog post on feedback, we identified four ways to obtain feedback for yourself:
1. Seek Clarity
2. Stop, Start, Continue
3. Specific Questions
4. Making an Effective Feedback Request
Today we continue to the second.
2. Stop, Start, Continue
Previously we have been looking at the constant stream of information we all get every day. We have looked at how to identify feedback and how to interpret it. Now we are going to shift gears and start actively seeking out the feedback that we need in order to improve.
What follows is a management model advocated by various consultants and teachers. It is simple to apply. It is meant as a neutral, information-seeking tool. You can ask these questions of whomever you believe has information that can help you. Be courageous. If you are afraid to ask a certain person in your organization, family or community, that may mean this is the perfect person to give you the information. Here are the questions you ask:
STOP – Given the goal I wish to attain, what have I been doing that does not work? I.e., what should I stop doing?
START – Given the goal I wish to attain, what should I start doing, which would assist me with what I am working in?
CONTINUE – Given the goal I wish to attain, what have I been doing that is working well for me, that I should continue?
Others see us more clearly than we see ourselves and so asking others to answer these questions for you is likely to get you info that you did not have before.
There are obviously many ways to use this tool. This one is particularly useful in management and family scenarios where you are asking for general feedback, just to open discussion. Imagine at your next staff (or family) meeting, you ask these questions. Some managers are afraid to hear the answers. But you don’t have to take the suggestions. Consider how valuable it would be just to hear the information. How many of your staff think you should stop taking a particular type of client? How many of your staff want you to continue your Friday casual day? How many of your staff believe you could increase customer satisfaction if you start a particular activity?
A note on seeking and receiving feedback: Going back to our basketball example, you may go find someone to give you feedback. They might say, “you are turned to the right and that is why the ball is going that way.” That may or may not be true. So we take feedback as information and not necessarily as the truth. It is the truth for the person giving it to you, but you do not have to accept it as the truth. You will want to evaluate it and assess if the information is accurate or helpful. If you have seven people watching you shoot baskets and one person says, “you are facing the wrong direction,” you will need to decide if that’s true. If seven people say, “you are facing the wrong direction,” it becomes more likely that this is really true and something for you to look at. As my first mentor on the subject said, “If 1 person calls you an ‘ass,’ you may dismiss it. If 10 people call you an ‘ass,’ you should get a saddle.”