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Lesson 14 from: Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change

Beth Comstock

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Lesson Info

14. Feedback

Do you have the right feedback mechanisms in place to ensure constant improvement? Beth shares her own struggles with feedback and how the feedback loop has evolved. She leads you through an exercise to examine your own feedback loop and shares examples of effective feedback systems.
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Lesson Info


conflict is really roll a piece of feedback. And so one of the challenges I want to give to you is Do you have the right mechanisms for feedback? Loops and feedback to me is essential and change its essential, the faster you get it and you make a determination. Do I want to act on this feedback for me? I came up with the question, or I came to appreciate this question for myself and the teams I worked with. Tell me one thing I don't want to hear because usually you don't, but you need to. I remember I was mid career and, um, him I had gotten some feedback from my colleagues to the earlier discussion that I was a bit of a perfectionist and that I came in with ideas fully baked, that I didn't to Joe's point asked for help. And the people really didn't like working with me because I had everything fully figured out and they would come like, Why do you need my help? So it was a formal feedback session. They gave me that feedback. The coach I had, This was an HR person. I worked with him. H...

e was my informal coach and he said, Well, first you have to listen and say, Do you accept this? And I've realized that this this is what people saw is the reality. Even if my perception was different, it was standing in my way. So hey goes, I said, Yeah, I have to and he's okay. You have to go and tell your team and you have to ask for help. So I still get kind of like nauseous telling you this story because I had to go back into my team and the colleagues that I had my peers and say, I heard you. I accept you. I need your help. So any time you see me doing that, you gotta call me out on it. If I'm not asking you enough for input, you have to let me know I was accountable to them. And that's just one example of many of Ah, what I've come to appreciate is really just the role of feedback. I mean, it is this continuous loop that you're trying to build. Um, Teoh, tell me something I don't want to hear Aiken recommend a really good book. Kim Scots Radical candor is a really great book. If you haven't read it, that gives you scripts of how to interact with people of how to give people feedback. Um, it's really tough to receive this negative, this feedback. But how else you going to know whether you're on the right track? Another time I mentioned to you earlier, I had gotten the CMO role and I was not feeling confident, and it was not my told you. My boss called Jeff Immelt called me into his office and he said, Hey, what's going on here? I put you in this job for a reason, but you're not showing up enough. I need you to be more confident. I was like, Whoa, like he kind of figured me out. I thought I was doing my best. Meryl Streep. What do you mean? You need me to be more confident and I was accountable to him, And I had to, um, makes myself more prepared. I had to put my ideas out there. He said, I put you here because you have creative ideas, but I'm not hearing him in a bigger group. You're losing your nerve with people. Put it out there. So I now was accountable to him. And I learned over the course of Ah career that the more you get feedback into the loop the system, the better you are able to change. Most of our organizations have feedback loops once a year. I don't know in the Police Department if it's once a year, once every six months. But most organizations, it's once a year. You get employee performance feedback. Those days are gone. If you're not getting regular feedback in giving regular feedback with your clients, your customers, your teams, you're not going to be able to navigate. The change were living in that G. We went to a system of getting rid of all of our performance review annual performance review and went toe ongoing feedback where anyone in the company could give anyone feedback any time they didn't through an app. I want you to consider this. I want you to keep doing that. And it held The team gave them permission to give the feedback, and it held them jointly, accountable for making change happen. Okay, so I want to kind of challenge and exercise. Here is what is your feedback loop? Do you have one? Is it enough. Did you get it regularly? And I'll tell you about a consultant I worked with. He had a really great process every time we met. Ah, he sent me a Google survey after the meeting. Three questions. Was the meeting effective? Will you take action from our meeting? Will you meet with me again? And he did this for years. We had quite a database of what people did and what they thought. And at first I was kind of annoying. But the reality is he used it and I came to appreciate it. So it could be a simple as an interaction you have with somebody on your team. Or it can be a something as formal as with your company or your customers. So I'm changing. Who are you asking? Are you gonna ask them? You could do it anonymously. Could have one on one. I think there's a time for all of these one on one. Conversations are great, but it's tough to put people on the spot. They may not want to tell you they may need an intermediary. I told you earlier, some of my team called me the dog from up no one told me that to my face. It was only much later when somebody sort of told me that story and I went back and I said, I wish you would have told me, but they go. You never asked. What's your plan? Are you going to do like a Google Surveymonkey survey you're going to do like my friend, the consultant who sent out a survey after every meeting? Is there some way you're gonna regularly gather information? And how are you going to hold yourself accountable? I created something with the team I worked with. We called a culture club. It wasn't because I was a big boy. George fan. In fact, I was probably only one on the team who was old enough to know who boy George Waas. But it was about way knew we needed to change our company's culture. We all believe we wanted to be a relevant as possible, but we said we can't change this whole company, but we can change our team and ourselves, so we're gonna hold ourselves accountable. We're gonna tell each other something we don't want to hear. And I had to really push and provoke, and they had to have the confidence that I was going to take what they had to give me the first time. They deputize the nicest guy on the team and he came back, gave me some really nice little No, that's not enough. You got to keep going. You got to keep going. So do you have the mechanisms toe Ask for feedback and what you gonna do about it? Do any of you feel like you have feedback? Is there any any take a minute, any kind of stories or any Any observations anyone would like to share on feedback? I think I've taken a lot of, ah, pre law enforcement I used on a small production company. And then I've worked for large companies as well, and I think, uh, survey monkeys very popular, and everyone does it. But I think it's important that human resource is whoever puts out those surveys, make sure the employees really know that they're confidential because sometimes, like, even like at the police department, I was the only female in my class of like, 30 people. And so I did have a problem sending feedback, but it just made me think about it. Some of the other questions. Because I'm female, you might be able to tell that I'm feel from those answers. And so then I want to, like, say, I want to give feedback on another question, But I don't want him. It's coming from me. I want it to be confidential. So I think it's important if you're going to give feedback, get feedback from people, explain it like a kindergartener. Yeah, it's super confidential. They will not know. Make sure because even now I know people that take surveymonkey surveys and they they just don't honestly believe that their confidential So they don't give the feedback. Yeah, Jane, thank you. That's a really great point of view. And I think there are times to do anonymous and you have two people. That's that trust factor you're trying to create. And then, hopefully it's also the transparency with your culture that you can have those one on ones or group small group meetings. I mean, there are times and feedback loops that can be given as a team, and there are times when it has to be one on one, and there times that need to be anonymous, you're gonna have to use your your critical thinking for that. But to your point, I think be very strict about what the rules are. And people understand that there multiple ways to give to give feedback. But I'm a big believer in just always asking, asking for feedback. How am I doing? How could I make this better? A few other things as we as we kind of head to the final stretch here, Um, this is some of the practice that Kelsey had touched on earlier. About how do you start toe? Organize yourselves for some of these breakthrough ideas. You know, you have a lot of ideas. How do you start to get the ideas that that breakthrough part of your job and driving changes to create this surround sound of change? So everybody starts to feel it. What They have to see that change is happening. They have to see ideas that are being incubated or percolating. They have to see something is actually changing. They don't always think it's for the better, but they have to see that something is progress is being being have is happening. I think it's a disciplined approach, and so what? I'm gonna lay out for you is a is a bit of, ah examples of how do you think about protecting ideas, giving them visibility, giving them funding? To me, it's about continually seeding ideas. I put this here because it's about a protected class of ideas for yourself, for your organization. You constantly have to protect some of these ideas so they don't get killed. And companies, especially they get killed When the budget cycle comes along. They get killed because not everybody agrees on at the time, the time dimension maybe too long for what your budget cycle is. This is a way to protect some of those ideas. One of the ways I like to think about protecting ideas is what I call the star system really simple pneumonic devices to star it so often times people have ideas, but they're afraid to share it or they're not there. They think it's too, too early. And so how do you know that you've got a good idea? Um, you don't just come up with something and throw it out there and say, Okay, okay. Let's go. They need time to develop before you consort of Show the money so to me this was a good a good device for teams. I worked with him for myself. The first thing is the s shelter it so every idea starts. Is this little seedling? You know, maybe you can't even articulate it yet, but remember to protect it. It's something you thought off. It's something you you can't you can't shake. So are you protecting it? Are you Are you kind of making sure that that that you're giving space to think about it, that that it's it's given time to breathe? Don't just go. It's a dumb idea. I'm over it. Tell it, were you able to get out and tell people about it? Often people wanted not talk about the idea because they're afraid that if they tell it, someone's going to steal it. Are there gonna think you're stupid? I found the best way to do is to just tell your idea. I like saying Here's a seed of an idea. I don't know if it's good where I'm excited, but I don't have enough input. Can you help me think it through? You have a great perspective, and then that kind of position is a seed of an idea. It kind of gets you off the hook and sort of opens yourself to be, Ah, a little bit more. Um, a little bit more open. Ask yourself. OK, How much do I believe in it? If I'm not willing to shelter it or tell other people about it, Maybe I don't really like this idea. Maybe I'm afraid of it. Maybe I'm afraid it's not good. How much time can you commit to it? Can you handle the criticism? These are good tests when you're starting to put that idea together. And then I hope you've heard today a lot of themes about resilience and and, you know, kind of keep going back. Keep going back. I think this is the last test of your resilience. Um, sometimes the timing's just wrong. That's you. Take it back to sheltering it. I'm gonna keep this alive, but it's it's wrong to keep putting more money or more in energy. Sometimes the company's wrong and you gotta leave. You're working at the wrong place because they don't see the brilliance of your idea. But you believe in it. Minea. Another company has been started that way. Sometimes your boss is wrong. That's back to that job crafting, or is there a way toe kind of incubated? Even even if the boss isn't quite convinced, can you get enough leeway to keep testing it? That's really the tester. Do you believe in it? Can you? Can you keep keep fighting for it So simple pneumonic about about, you know, kind of keeping it safe, keeping it resilient. The other thing I want to mention is just the power of constraints. Like conflict without constraints. You don't get to a better place. And so this is another one of those mindset shifts about how do you use constraints as a challenge to be more creative, having worked in big organizations and small. I've seen this in start ups, and I've seen it in multinational companies. You throw too much money at people at the wrong time. It doesn't make the idea any better. It certainly doesn't make the team any more creative. In fact, I'd argue that the less resource is a team has in the early days, the more creative they're going to be and much like orchestrating the conflicts, can you orchestrate constraints at various points of time and isn't that part of your job? In terms of seeding innovation? We had a phrase that G we would use a lot called premature scaling, and a lot of companies do this where they just throw too much money and they think money is going to solve everything. If I just put money, it will get there faster. Yet what they really needed to do was meat or the money put the right number of people doing it.

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Ratings and Reviews

Julie Hankes

Wow, this class was such a privilege to be a part of! There are so many gems in here, but what I loved most, is that she opened my thinking even bigger and offered me tricks and tips to facilitate that for myself and others long into the future. This is a tremendous gift as I'm already pretty outside of the box (i.e. I just took a client kayaking and then out in a seaplane yesterday for a visioning session) and creative in my work, so yes, what a gift! She also profoundly underscores the vital role the creative/imaginary mindset plays in the role of innovation and greeting our world's most wild challenges and opportunities. What a joy, have shared her work with many since this class took place. Thank you Beth for your courageous offering of imagination and championing it's vital role in our everyday work place and in our world's next steps into a more thriving, creative and innovative future!

Arthur Yakumo

I really enjoy this class. If you want a mind shift, having difficult seeing opportunities in front of you, especially living and working in a corporate job, this class is for you. Working for a fortune 500 job, I see how work is constantly changing, I didn't see the opportunities and how we can influence the change or be part of the change. This class helps you see and be part of the changing job revolution.

Christine Denker

If you want a mind shift to create change for yourself or your organization, then this class is a no-brainer! As a middle school English Language Arts teacher, I thought about how I could apply the concepts Beth teaches to my students who I have the privilege of interacting with daily. As a writer, I thought about how much I'm holding myself back and how I need to give myself permission to try new things knowing I'm going to fail and it's okay to do so. I really appreciated this course and had several takeaways that I can't wait to implement.

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