Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sharing our learning . . .

Dawn and I had an opportunity today to share some of our new learning about giving and receiving feedback with the Rock Creek leadership team.  They are beginning a process at the team level to collect data and provide feedback first among themselves and then with their grade level colleagues and had asked for some support.  What would have been a fairly easy presentation using material already developed became a more difficult process because of new learning from a book we are reading, Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen.  The book is causing me dissonance so having the opportunity to partner with Dawn and share with Rock Creek was appreciated and helpful.

Over time, our focus has been on the giver of the feedback supporting them through training, role playing, and feedback.  We now know that we need to spend as much time supporting the receiver to be receptive to the feedback even when it feels wrong and misguided.  We know from experience how difficult it can be to receive feedback that makes us question our knowledge and skill so leverage in this process rests with supporting the receiver in maintaining a positive mental model through the process. As we shared in a draft to support their individual and team reflection:

We are learning that we need to focus on the receiver as much as the giver because the receiver is in control of what they do with the feedback, how they make sense of what is being shared, and whether they choose to learn and change.  How can we influence the receiver to recognize and manage the tendency to resist less than “wow” feedback and maintain the capacity to learn and grow even if the feedback seems wrong?

Another change in practice is encouraging a dialogue and not the one way conversation that we sometimes experience in a feedback situation.  The focus of the dialogue is on creating mutual intent and shared understanding of what the data means that results in meaningful feedback and options for growth for the receiver.   Initial feedback from our time together suggests that this approach to providing feedback can lessen the anxiety associated with those beginning the process of giving feedback.  Dawn and Shelly did a great job of modeling this practice and sharing how all of us are increasing our knowledge and skill in this important work.

1 comment:

Shelly Gaston said...

Thank you Mike and Dawn for being willing to share with us. It was an energizing evening. I am excited to keep learning with you and can't wait to share this new learning with others.