Feedback. A word that most of us probably hear at least weekly, if not daily. It’s usually used to either refer to something good you wanted to say to a colleague or the dreaded ‘feedback’ you’re preparing to share with a difficult person. In our business, we live and breathe feedback every day. Our culture is one that fosters and demands it from each and every person. You may have come from a previous home where it wasn’t encouraged, or it was handled very poorly, but when you’re part of a team that thrives on it you limit resentment, productively work through disagreement and maybe, most importantly, develop others.
As I started to think about what’s really important about feedback, I realized that at least for me, it’s about the impact of it, NOT the act of doing it. In this reflection, I want focus specifically on positive feedback. Question for you; could you find a way to say thank you to someone you work with every day, for showing up on time? Sure. Might you say thank you, in a meaningful way, often? Probably. But, I ask you all to think about how many pieces of positive feedback you can remember getting just in the last 3 months. Can you remember exactly what they said every time? I doubt it. What if I asked you to remember the most impactful positive feedback you got? I bet you can remember that like it was yesterday and I’ll bet you can probably remember it almost word for word. I don’t think your friends, loved ones, peers or leader can remember all the times you’ve said ‘thank you’ to them, but I’m pretty confident they can all point to that exact time you blew them away with a heartfelt, thoughtful piece of feedback that made them feel as if they were the only person alive on the planet that day and left them feeling high for weeks, months or even their entire career. That’s what inspires people; that’s what motivates them to run through a brick wall or fire for you.
So, the next time you set out to say ‘thank you’ to someone for a job well done, or you want to show your gratitude for someone going out of their way to help you, maybe this time try pausing to take time to really THINK about the feedback you want to deliver and, more importantly, the impact you want to have. What I’d encourage you to strive for is delivering that feedback in a way that makes them feel special, as if they had done something so incredible it’s Oscar-worthy. Here’s something I try to do that I’d share with you in case it helps you do it better; we all work with people who excel at one big thing, something they do that catches the attention of everyone they work with. When I’m having an impromptu conversation with that person, I’ll tell them how impressive that one thing is and how thankful I am to have them on our team because of it. My goal is to have them walk away feeling truly SPECIAL and unique. They feel great, and so do you for making someone else’s day.
Ross Giombetti, President