Asking for feedback

Over the past two years, I have had clients, professional relationships, on-going projects, and as I’ve sought out articles on feedback, it came to my attention that I have not ever properly sought out feedback in a meaningful way.

I have received feedback; for sure. Often too late, when in one instance I left a project get away from me and the client was rightfully…irked. They were incredibly professional and gracious, but nevertheless, I knew I had done them a disservice. Perhaps a more regular feedback loop would have increased my chances of being able to course-correct.

I have only ever gone through a 360-feeback review in a college leadership program. Annual reviews have been the only formal review process I have done. If I own my own business, what mechanisms do I put in place to ensure I am listening as well as I should be and incorporating feedback into my practice?

The annual review process is insufficient, happening too infrequently to have a meaningful impact and encouraging of folks to hold their thoughts until that one time a year. Seth Godin talks about a soft skills inventory and questions to ask of yourself:

If you choose to, though, you can do your own review. Weekly or monthly, you can sit down with yourself (or, more powerfully, with a small circle of peers) and review how you’re shifting your posture to make more of an impact.

This led me to think: should I solicit feedback and conduct my own review, of sorts?

  • Which questions should I ask?
  • Who should I ask? (e.g. peers, supervisors, clients)
  • Does it matter whether or not I ask them to attach their names to the feedback?
  • What is it that I want to know? That is to say, I can derive questions if only I knew the information I am looking for?
  • In which case, what metrics matter for my long-term success?
  • Is written feedback sufficient or do I need to incorporate some live in-person component to this?
  • Does feedback need to be anonymous to allow for reviewers to be honest or does that cheapen the feedback for them and for me?
  • How much is the feedback about me versus the work (outcomes) or the process (why and how)?

One HBR article from 2011 cites a SKS process: stop, keep, start:

  • What should I stop doing?
  • What should I keep doing?
  • What should I start doing?

Effective feedback requires specificity. Are these questions too wide-open that they would solicit the sentiments and the specifics to back them up?

This article emphasizes the

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