Messaging and massaging feedback into our culture: A video chat with Nadia (3/3)

And just like that…

…Nadia and I reached the final part of our video conversation about feedback.

I loved our entire conversation about feedback. Episode 1 unpacked it (the why and what), episode 2 analysed it (the how, when, where), and this episode is bringing it home and to a whole new level: US, all together.

For someone who craves individual change in the service of collective transformation (towards ever healthier societies and a healthier planet), this is the holy grail: how do we harness feedback not just in the space of a nice conversation, between two people, but everywhere, all the time, with everyone, and for everyone else to see and draw inspiration from…

So yes, we covered a myriad of topics in this rich episode:

We brushed through different lenses that help stimulate a healthy culture of feedback: growth mindset, tolerance for failure etc. A positive ‘mindset’ is so important for change, as testified by this infographic shared on Twitter by the fabulous Helen Bevan.

We considered how having “some feedback about feedback”, or at least a conversation on how feedback is being practiced in the group, is a simple but useful and powerful first step, which reveals more than the tip of the feedback iceberg. Taking that step back is a little like “having a meeting about our meetings” that Nadia suggests in this welcome provocation.

Management plays a mirroring and amplifying role vis-à-vis the feedback culture of a given group…

We obviously reflected on the role of management, the top leadership, the human resources teams or departments, how they can couple or decouple feedback with formal assessments, and how they also hold a part of the solution by mirroring useful practices – or precisely not, then adding to the gospel of “Do what I say, not what I do”.

We also flickered through the Liberating Structures (LS) repertoire to see what structures might come in handy to understand, discuss or act upon a feedback culture in the team/organisation. And we actually used quite a few of these structures in a feedback training workshop we gave to a client organisation earlier this year with Nadia. We were left feeling there was even still so much more that could be done about feedback, with LS and generally. Our conversation reminded me that Liberating Structures bet on changed practices by focusing on modifying the everyday behaviours and actions rather than modifying the values or principles that guide those actions.

So what is the surer way to embrace, or expand, a culture of feedback?

Tell us what you’ve tried, or what you’ve witnessed around you.

Tell us if anything from the video below resonated with you or not…

And also tell us if there’s any topic related to collaboration and facilitation that you’d like Nadia and I to think and talk about…

What we learned about what feedback is and why it feels so hard – a video chat with Nadia (1/3)

Feedback has been a staple topic on this blog and on my agile Knowledge Management blog. I blogged most recently about it here earlier this year, but also generally under the category ‘feedback‘.

And it shouldn’t be a surprise, because indeed feedback is powerful, and directly within our everyday reach.

Feedback – unsolicited (image credit: The UTNE Reader, photo by Karl Horton / FlickR)

As Nadia (Learning Moments) and I have started helping people and organisations with their feedback practice, we decided to share some of our insights on this important, and yet misunderstood and under-tapped learning opportunity that feedback is, via our ‘Facilitators Unplugged‘ series.

And because this topic is rich, we are tackling it in three breaths:

  1. What is feedback, why it matters, and why it’s so darn difficult
  2. How to give and receive feedback meaningfully
  3. How to develop and nurture an entire ‘feedback culture’ in our teams, groups, organisations?

In the first of our video chats on this topic, we are coming back to the essence of what feedback is, the three types of feedback that are broadly recognised, why it’s so difficult to deal with feedback (and particularly receiving it), why it is important and powerful, and we give a little nudge of attention and action to start incorporating it in our everyday life.

The video contains timings for specific segments of our conversation.

Have a check below!

In the process, we are giving a deep bow to Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone for their seminal book on the topic: “Thanks for the feedback, the science and art of receiving feedback well” which deeply impressed both of us.

Episode 2 of this feedback series is coming shortly – watch this space!

Are you interested in improving the way you (and your team) deal with feedback? Feel free to contact us!

Related stories: What it means to be a facilitator – The dawn of ‘Facilitators unplugged’ chats?

What it means to be a facilitator – The dawn of ‘Facilitators unplugged’ chats?

Nadia and I recently gave a training course on (online) facilitation to a networked organisation operating in the water sector. The training itself was really interesting as an experience, to the participants, but also definitely to us both. Every group is different and the pacing, content, facilitation, engagement always works slightly differently with any new group or setting.

As we went through four different sessions addressing ‘facilitation basics’, ‘group dynamics 101’, ‘participation formats and structures’ and ‘collective decision-making’, we had fascinating conversations with the contributors (as Nadia rightly insists we should call ‘participants’).

UNPLUGGED
Is this the dawn of ‘facilitators UNPLUGGED’? (photo credit: M Fisher / FlickR)

Many questions that emerged are facilitation evergreens, the same issues that keep reappearing:

  • What is facilitation?
  • What are the trademarks of a good facilitator?
  • Should a facilitator be neutral or not, and knowledgeable with the topic or not?
  • How do you build and cultivate engagement?
  • Why bring in a facilitator?
  • What does it mean, in the room/zoom, to be the facilitator?
  • How to apply your facilitation skills with confidence, in the face of power, cynicism, your own inexperience etc.?
  • etc….

We addressed these questions in the sessions, but usually time was short for a fuller conversation (the training consisted of four sessions of 1.5h so it was a very light training, more like an introduction).

And so the idea came to us to address these questions in our own way. In so doing this ‘Facilitators Unplugged‘ conversation came off the ground… Our own private corner to have an off-the-record, heart-to-heart and reflexive conversation between two friends that happen to love their facilitative practice and experiences with many groups.

Our conversation was fun, easy, relaxing and interesting. And it was also helpful for us (to clarify our thoughts and pick each other’s brain), for the contributors of our recent training, and hopefully for quite a few other people. Including you, reading this blog. Knowledge SHARING is power, as testified by this quote:

“The traditional assumption that ‘knowledge is power’ and is used for personal gain is being subsumed by the notion that knowledge is an expression of the shared responsibilities for the collective well-being of humanity and the planet as a whole.”

Jeremy Rifkin

So here’s this video conversation, with the timeline of our questions to ourselves and each other, in the first comment…

…and this might indeed be just the dawn of more such conversations among us. Because it was too enjoyable to not do it again.

Let us know what you think – whether it’s worth another episode or we should call it a nice experiment 😉

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