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Only ask for feedback if you're open to change

The process of creating ~ bend the river hit the rapids when I asked about 20 friends and family to visit my first business website: I asked them to let me know what they loved and what didn't make sense, so I could start see it through the eyes of others and make some changes.

PING. That evening the first emails started to come in. I was excited and read quickly. Over the next 24 hours, I bounced from feeling supported and appreciated to winded and defensive. I recognised a familiar pattern of seeing more improvements than appreciation.

Even when genuinely wanted, receiving feedback can be hard to process. One of the leadership practices I believe is important is receptivity. The capacity to listen deeply and be open to being changed by what you hear. I asked myself "How open am I to change?"

I rembered some words from a session with my coach a few months earlier and set a guiding intention to create some experiments. "How can this strengthen the connection we have?"

  • Stand in their shoes - What was it like for them to be asked and to respond?

  • See them in the feedback - What can I learn about each person through their responses; their values and beliefs, what's happening for them in their lives?

  • Appreciation - How can I share my appreciate of their time, words and expression?

  • Map the feedback - Creating a post it map of key words from the feedback to see the patterns. Starting with the appreciation. Writing some words larger to emphasis them, some smaller to give them scale.

It shifted my perspective. Any negative emotional response to the feedback dropped away. I felt stronger in my connection to my friends and family. I am changed and the website by their words and their comments. They will always now be part of it.

What feedback have you had recently? Are you still thinking about it, whirring it round in your head, mistrusting it? Or are you ready to let it change you?

To start a conversation about feedback you may have received recently or to build your capacity to be receptive, email:

- you probably get as many different opinions as you do people".

#receptivity #feedback #leadership #appreciation

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