Friday, July 10, 2009

Seeking feedback!!

The aspect of seeking feedback of self, actions of self/team and improvements is critical to sustain, adjust and evolve in a continous way. However this does not happen in a natural way as there are several DNA related issues which can inhibit this. The first is the way we have been brought up. For example in India/China in for generations we are taught to respect authority. Several of us either first or second hand have seen if we try to give a feedback to a teacher on his teaching style (genuine concerns like I don't understand your pronounciation or the speed of talking etc)usually the response is of defiance. Either it is punishment or the teacher in a menacing tone asks the class if anyone else has a problem. The class senses the power and the answer the teacher wants-so is silent.The teacher then concludes it is the stupidity of the student which is to blame and punishes him/her.
The message is clear-negative feedback is not appreciated. This does gets into the DNA. There can be similar experiences at home which shapes the attitudes of the young mind. While there is some freedom the rebelious adoloscent age brings in it is not really structured. Therefore giving an improvement suggestion in a positive way is not really inherited by a lot. This creates issues in teamworking as well as realising the full potential of a group.
Next is how to elicit feedback. While etools are fantastic in seeking feedback and there are a lot who look at averages for judging if they are above a particular level in a particular parameter etc, this is not exactly what we should do. Averages are a myth in measuring satisfaction. The people who rate below are not necessarily biased. They are the ones who are trying to talk to us with their ratings. If there are open ended comments in the forms-we should look at what they are trying to talk with this. Feedback is not to have a comfort feeling that we are doing ok but to see where we can improve.This is not an option for those who want to be sure they are rooted on realities. Informal ways of feedback is also ok but there should be a consistency in way we seek feedback as a lot of time in informal feedback we try to filter information to suit what we think or want to hear. There are no shortcuts to the thirst of seeking feedback as if we stop this activity we are already stopping to improve. Be it forecast improvement (in demand chain) or relationship improvement (with suppliers or customers) it is always the seeking/acting on feedback which makes the difference between winners and losers.

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Gothenburg, Sweden
Still finding introspecting to find who am I? Waiting for a Guru!