Sunday, February 13, 2011


Continuing the theme of self awareness I thought I'd write a little about feedback.

But first a little fun...

O                                            X

Cover right eye and focus the left eye on the X
Starting with your face fairly close to your screen, slowly move away from the screen.
At some point the O should disappear and then as you get further away reappear. 

This is your blind spot...each eye has an area where there are no light sensitive cells which we never really notice as the brain fills in the 'hole' and both eyes have overlapping fields of vision.

It's not just in vision that we have blind-spots.

Now no matter how self aware you are or how 'in tune' you are to those around you, you do not see yourself as others do. Plain and simple how you come across to others isn't the same as how you think you're projecting yourself.

So far we've looked at our own view of our selves, but today we'll look at getting other people's feedback.
One of the most powerful forms of information is feedback on our own actions.John Paul Kotter (born 1947) is a professor at the Harvard Business School
The Feedback Sandwich
It's often a trait of very successful people that they seek out feedback from others.
They realise that they're not seeing the whole picture and seek out other people's view to fill in the gaps

  1. Pick an Area – to get meaningful feedback you need to be specific about what you want. It's no good sitting down with someone and saying 'give me feedback on me...' Pick the area of your life that you are interested in changing, and jot down some questions around it that you may ask yourself (see the last post). 
  2. Identify some Feedback Friends – try to identify 5-10 people on a personal and professional level that you can approach and ask for feedback from. Now we're not looking at your spouse, or boss or your best friends - they should be people you know, who you trust the opinion of.
  3. Provide background - you need to explain why your asking for feedback and give them some context to your request. Although you're interested in specific feedback the first conversations should be about general feedback around your chosen area. You want their general feedback and impressions to help you categorize things you are probably unaware of that you may want to focus on or improve over time.  
  4. Getting the conversation started – you may need to guide the initial conversation so you get meaningful feedback.
    You can start by saying something like “I think I am good at something’s but not strong in other areas and I am hoping you can provide some additional insight for me. In your opinion what do you think I am good at and why?". This gets you of on a positive note, gets the conversation started and gets affirmations of things you know you are good at.
  5. Turn it on its head - next the hard question, you want to find out where you could improve - “Can you tell me in your opinion areas you think I need improvement in or don’t do well and why you think that?”
    Now this is never easy and most people will get really vague in their answers here - but real personal development comes from conversations like this. My tip here would be questioning techniques; if they come back with something vague probe into it, maybe ask for examples. 
  6. Finish on a high - go back to step 4 and start talking about things they think you do well. It is important to end these conversations on a positive note - both for the sake of your confidence and your relationship wit the person giving the feedback. You don't want to be left feeling low - they don't want to end the conversation feeling they've dumped on you.
  7. Thanks them for their time - let them know you value their opinion and thank them for helping you out. Manners cost nothing.
Now you should have a few notes from their feedback it's important to take some time out.
Internalise the feedback, cross check it with what you have previously written down about yourself, think about where the feedback came from.

It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it, analyze it, and appropriately act on it.
Stephen R. Covey (born 1932) bestselling author of, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People



    Blindspots are an interesting segue to your topic. I thought I was getting an eye test.

    Careful with feedback, you might hear things you don't want to!

  2. Very informative post...most people don't like hearing feedback because often it is critical, but without it, how is anyone supposed to improve?

  3. i had no idea about that blind eye thing!

  4. interesting exercise about blind spots

    and feedback is good as long as the people giving it are knowledgeable themselves

    one of the things i hate the most is people who don't know anything trying to give advice

  5. Good article, thanks for the info, I'm going to see if I can subtly ask for feedback next time I go out.

  6. I think that blind spot is where all our retinal information tubes go through, so that's why there are no photoreceptors there. Something along those lines.

  7. Definitely didn't that about the blind spots, wow

  8. i always thank everybody who deserve it

  9. I've seen this trick before.

    but dammit i really don't care what others think of me.

  10. I already ask people for feedback on how I could better myself. After all, it can only make you a better person for it.

  11. Great blog post as always. I really liked the how you tied in blind spots to "seeing the whole picture" interesting take.

  12. Another awesome post. Love these.

  13. Awesome post man! And that trick was great also!

  14. some good info, I should start getting peoples feedback.

  15. Some good advice there, it's good to seek feedback but you shouldn't rely on it or let it influence you too much. You need to take it with a grain of salt and still retain your own personality

  16. neat trick, the body never ceases to amaze

  17. haha this was pretty fun and interactive!

  18. Thanks for the post. :q And yes, some people should read it at least twice you know.

  19. HELLO BRO!!!!

    I went here today!!

    $upporting BRO!!!

  20. seeing a whole picture is very important

  21. what a great blog. really interesting and helpful stuff. thanks for posting, can't wait to read more.

  22. I might just try this! :) Thanks!