Wouldn’t it be valuable to know how others perceive you and whether you’re having the impact you intend? We all want this! We want to know what’s working and what’s not, so we can make intelligent choices and be more successful, confident, and influential in our careers. We need to know what makes us special as well as what’s getting in our way, so that we can have maximum impact and make a difference.
You have skills and experience that people rely on but that’s not what gets you ahead in your career or noticed in a bigger way. Being clear on your impact (positive and negative) and then adjusting accordingly is crucial to advancing your career.
You want to know the secret for how to get this valuable information and insight?
There’s one thing you have to do and it’s easier than you can possibly imagine and yet most people don’t do it.
Demand Feedback…All The Time
In late April, I was blessed with the good fortune of attending a 5-day workshop in Lyme Regis, England, which was centered on how to inject creative mastery into any business situation. It was lead by two genius guys, Chris Barez-Brown and Matt Bolton-Alarcon, from Upping Your Elvis.
The results were shocking. Nearly everyone discovered that their most authentic self was their most powerful and compelling version but they needed the feedback to really “get it” and understand its impact. It was as if they were finally given permission to be themselves. “More of that!,” they declared to each other every day. They also became acutely aware of their gaps and behaviors that reduced their effectiveness. Excellent! They knew what to turn the volume up on and what to turn it down on.
For most of us, we wait to ask for feedback until the end of a project, after a big presentation, or during a performance review cycle. We hope for unsolicited feedback, which doesn’t come as often as we like. Becoming skillful at asking for feedback regularly, gives you the opportunity to pivot and make a bigger impact NOW!
The Secret Sauce
I’m going to share with you the exact script you should use to demand feedback. It’s so simple, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before.
Step #1: Identify one person or a small group to demand feedback from with whom you’ve had any kind of substantial interaction (e.g. brainstorm discussion, leading a meeting, 1:1 strategy session). As soon as the interaction has concluded, ask this question: “Hey, do you have 2-3 minutes to spare? I’d love to get some quick feedback.”
Step #2: Once they’ve said yes, you say, “Ok, I’d like know one thing that I did BRILLIANTLY and one thing that I could do EVEN BETTER.” Use those exact words. Do not replace them with anything else.
Step #3: Listen intently to their answer and say, “Thank you.” There’s no need to agree, defend, or validate anything they are sharing with you. Of course, if you need more clarification, ask for it.
Objections and Pitfalls
Sometimes people have a hard time sharing feedback on the fly. They might find it easy to tell you what you did brilliantly and shy away from helping you learn what you could do even better, especially face to face.
If this happens, give them time to think of something (I mean it - silence is an amazing tool - let them fill the space). Try not to let them off the hook if they say, “Hmmm. I can’t think of anything you could do better.” Remind them that feedback is really important to you and you’d appreciate any insight, big or small. They will come up with something if you are willing to wait a moment for it.
Collecting feedback only from certain categories of people is also short-sighted. Demand feedback from everyone...upper management, direct reports, peers, clients, etc. You want feedback from all levels and directions. You even want it from people whom you don’t particularly like. Don’t be picky or particular about who you demand it from.
The Incredible Benefits
The feedback you receive tells you as much about the other person as it does about you. Demanding feedback helps you better connect with others because it sheds light on what is important to them. It is colored by their own experiences, biases, and opinions, which provides a window into what they care about and value.
Since each person who gives you feedback is basing it on what matters most to them, it goes to show that you need to demand feedback regularly from lots of people and collect themes, not specific dos and don’ts. (Example themes: ability to boldly state what no one else is willing to say, easily shift the mood in the room to create more engagement and participation, put others at ease, ability to gain instant trust and credibility, etc.)
Once you take stock of your themes, you’ll be able to determine what to turn the volume up on and what to modify or eliminate. The feedback is for your benefit so don’t ignore what you’re hearing. Integrate your discoveries as much as possible and experiment.
Most importantly, keep asking for feedback to see if your adjustments are working.
The more you practice, the better you get at it...and it will become one of the best career development tools in your toolbox.
Pretty soon, performance reviews will seem completely unnecessary (there’s nothing new or surprising to learn!) and promotion becomes more likely and frequent. Your brand will resonate in a clear and powerful way.
The answers you are looking for are available to you any time and from anyone. You just have to ask.
My challenge to you is to demand feedback 3 times in the next week.
Will you take on this challenge? What is the one thing that might hold you back from demanding feedback and what would you need to overcome it? Share with me in the comments.
P.S. If you’d like to learn more about my experience with the workshop and a few of the totally amazing tools I learned, you can check it out over on the Upping Your Elvis blog.