If You Havent Done So Yet Ask for Feedback
With the new year comes a new page. Before you begin to fill the page, get a sense of what your clients and colleagues see as your strengths and your opportunities for improvement.
Identify five clients and at least two colleagues from whom you will get feedback. The reason to ask for feedback is because we all need an outside view. We can only see so much about ourselves.
Use the start of the new year as the rationale for asking. For example, you may say to a client, “Bob, I want to be sure I am doing all I can to add value. So as we start the new year, I would appreciate your letting me know what kind of things you find most valuable in what I am providing and what kind of things I can be doing better or more of that would be helpful for you.”
Ask confidently with a steady voice (vs. your voice going up at the end of the request). Show you are serious in wanting straight feedback. Be silent and listen.
Probe whatever information the client offers up to get details. Don’t allow the client to duck the issue by saying everything is fine. Ask again and get as much specific feedback as possible.
Don’t forget to apologize when (if) shortfalls are identified.
Acknowledge and, as appropriate, respond with actions you will take or commit to taking.
Regardless of how small, show you take the feedback very seriously.
Don’t forget to thank your client for the feedback.
As you listen to the feedback, keep in mind you are there to get feedback. Avoid any sign of defensiveness. Even if you have an “answer (excuse),” hold back. As appropriate, say you will think about/look into it and then get back to the client.
Follow up flawlessly on any open issues or commitments you make.
In one month, ask the client how he/she feels you are doing in the areas for improvement he/she suggested.
Slow down and think about the feedback you get. Avoid the temptation to discount what you don’t agree with – i.e., “Oh, she just doesn’t understand.” Create a plan to continue to maximize your strengths and create action steps to correct what can be improved.
Feedback is a gift – seek it, appreciate it, learn from it, and use it to reach and exceed 2006 goals.
Linda Richardson: President and CEO of Richardson, training consultants to corporations, banks, and investment banks globally. Richardson has 110 professionals, 15 regional offices in the United States, and presence in London, Australia, Singapore, Latin America, and Asia. Clients of Richardson include KPMG, Federal Express, General Mills, Tiffany & Co., Dell Computer, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Citibank, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, and Kinko’s. Visit http://www.Richardson.com.