Posts Tagged ‘truths’

Perception or Reality?

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

I wonder how many corporate hearts have flown into corporate mouths on hearing the phrase “Let me give you some feedback“? Now don’t get me wrong, as an advocate of Change I am a big fan of feedback. I believe it is not only valuable but essential. The Universe is giving it to us all the time, but sometimes we can speed-up our learning process with some well focused, clearly expressed, positively intentioned feedback.

Feedback comes in two flavours, both positive and negative. I don’t recollect ever hearing the above phrase mentioned in the context of positive feedback. I don’t know why, no one seems to be busting a gut to tell you all the wonderful things you have done. So that phrase, inevitably seems to mean trouble.

Now there is nothing intrinsically wrong with one person telling another why they have a problem with something you have said or done. The trouble comes from them assuming that because they are not you, they are somehow independent, unbiased, and also perfectly informed! Clearly this is not the case. However, it is still possible to gain some useful information if the ‘feedback’ is delivered as just that, information. However, once again, it is usually handed out as a judgement; and a judgement from ‘on high’ as well!

Let’s take a look at two scenarios:-

Scenario 1: A & B both go the cinema, and it turns out that they saw the same film. They are sitting in different parts of the cinema, and therefore see and hear the performance slightly differently. They compare notes afterwards and discover they have seen different things, read in different messages and now have different feelings about the film. These are in part due to the slightly different perceptions and partly to their differing tastes, upbringings, educations and natures. They discuss it and now both have an enhanced view of what the film was about.

Scenario 2: A calls B into their office and says “Let me give you some feedback…” and proceeds to tell B why they have failed to complete an assignment ‘properly’. Clearly all the differences in scenario 1 still pertain, but now B assumes the Godlike right to hand out judgements. If B does anything other than say “Thank you” they are now labelled as resistant to change. At Best B has their own feelings and some different perceptions, and perhaps some more data.

If in Scenario 2 they communicated in the same spirit as Scenario 1 there would be only winners, as it is the winner and loser are decided by their positional power.

So if today finds you either in A or B’s position, please remember that if you just share information and feelings, then you both win; if you hand out judgements then you are a schmuck!

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” William Shakespeare, Hamlet