A Gift

“Make feedback normal. Not a performance review.” – Ed Batista

There is a popular maxim in management – Feedback is a gift. I agree. However, most times the gift an illusion, because we mistake where the value lies.

The cost of a gift is determined by the giver, but the value is determined by the receiver.

Most feedbacks do not start with value to the receiver in mind, unlike most gifts.
If feedback is truly a gift, givers should be more thoughtful and conscious.

There is a mental checklist I use before, during and after giving feedback. It mimics the 5W1H approach.

Why am I giving this gift? 

This question is aimed at understanding my perception of the circumstance, the activated feelings and real intent.

Who is the receiver?
We need to understand important leanings of the receiver. What are their preferences? What are their vulnerabilities? What do they stand for? How do they see themselves? What makes them smile? What makes them small? What makes them pay attention? What switches them off? Paying attention to the receiver is important, to ensure value is provided.

What gift will maximize value to the receiver, at an acceptable cost to me?
A win-win approach is required. Just as you aim at maximizing the value of the receiver, the cost must not be crushing, otherwise, in spite of the value provided, you will be sore, because you will continue focusing on the cost.

When do I give this gift?
Timing is a critical lever for impact. Real time feedback is preferable, but depending on the prevailing circumstance of the receiver, it is okay to wait.
In addition, never forget the value of a surprise gift. One not associated with routine cycles or markers. That is why fixed formalized feedback sessions (aka performance appraisals) are not as valued as informal feedback sessions. People generally appreciate the unscripted.

Where do I give this gift?
Depending on the receiver and your intent, choose whether it should be in front of people or one-on-one; in a noisy place or serenity will be preferred; in an environment that requires sitting, walking or standing; in an environment that promotes face-to-face or side-by-side.

How did it go?
It is necessary to assess the impact of the gift against your expectation. What reactions did it provoke? What actions followed? Was the gift used, displayed, bragged about, kept safely, hidden from view or tossed in the trash? This loop closing mechanism is a gift to the giver and helps refine the mental frameworks that will be used for future gifts.

“The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work.” – Agha Hasan Abedi

In the above quote lies the value we drive, using feedback.

– Osasu Oviawe

One thought on “A Gift

  1. Great thoughts indeed , captured in strings of choice words and delivered in a structured manner to add value to the thinking reader.

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