Giving feedback

Blooming LavenderI listened to Graham Keen’s audio cd “95@95” in the car over the weekend and whilst I did not agree with all its contents, it brought together many things I know. Isn’t it great when writers are able to make you wonder “how come I did not realise this myself?” A strong point for me was his conclusion that if you want to make changes in your life, you must look at the messages you give yourself of who you are (your self-concept). Change these messages and your behaviour will begin to change to suit your new messages.

The memorable anecdote from the tape was how John D Rockefeller, preparing to bawl out an executive at Standard Oil who had made a very costly error, first made an exhaustive list of the man’s top qualities and achievements in the company. We are taught to sandwich negative feedback between positive statements. Also to tackle the behaviour, not the person. What I learnt from Rockefeller is how to do this in practice: really look to see what good there is in the person and appreciate her/him. This puts their behaviour and result into perspective.

The thing is to do this, you must already be of the mindset that there is some good there in the first place.