feedback culture

What about your feedback culture? Do you cultivate it? Feedback is one of the simplest learning tools. All it needs is an invitation, intention and attention.

The other morning I was early on my way to the train station. I was carried by the birds happily tweetering. It was wonderful and peaceful. The lovely sound-cloud made me smile. The birds had my full attention. In fact the birds interrupted my train of thoughts and invited me to listen. Is it not the same with feedback? That is actually what I was thinking about when I left the house. My mind was on a blog post on feedback as learning tool. Ewen Le Borgne posted an interview with Nelli Noakes and Sam Kaner  about trends in facilitation practice and how to improve them. Nelli Noakes advices to ask for feedback.

… become not just comfortable with receiving feedback, but to actively seek it at every possibility. Learn to value it as the most important factor in your own continuous improvement process.
Nelli Noakes

All it needs is intention and attention; both as giver or receiver of feedback. A constructive, well-intended and respectful feedback from a colleague, a peer, a friend is a gift. It can be a word, a color, a feeling, a picture, a story, a gesture. If someone offers me such feedback it is first of all an invitation to listen. I pay attention and listen with open heart and open mind, without judgment, without fear, without cynicism like listening to the birds.

Man sollte die Wahrheit dem anderen wie einen Mantel hinhalten, dass er hineinschlüpfen kann – nicht wie ein nasses Tuch um den Kopf schlagen.
Max Frisch 

I like the way the case clinic introduced by the U.Lab cultivates a truly ‘gifted’ feedback culture. After a case giver tells about her/ his challenge and a moment of stillness the coaches give feedback, they share “the image/ metaphors, feelings and gestures that came up in the silence or while listening to the case story”.

Also the idea of the “happiness door – sticky notes” is fabulous. Jurgen Appelo invites leaving guests to post a feedback on his door.

Another approach is working out loud (WOL). By making our work visible we are more likely to receive feedback (see John Stepper and Bryce Williams).

What do you do to cultivate your feedback culture?

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