I don’t know if this is a familiar phrase to you, but it’s a good reminder to us all. Warren Buffet is probably the most proponent of the statement but I have heard it in many places. What Buffet actually said was:
"Honesty is a very expensive gift; just don't expect it from cheap people."
That sounds like quite a brutal statement but, when you dig deeper, it gets to the heart of the value of feedback and perhaps helps us all understand the motivation of those providing it.
Essentially, if someone is taking the time to give you honest and constructive feedback, they care. They care enough to take the time, they care enough to put themselves in a potentially awkward position, they care enough that they want you to succeed. Why take the time otherwise?
Of course, we must also remember that feedback isn’t always about what people can do better – it’s equally important to understand what you do well and to tell others what they do well.
I focus on this topic because I am so impressed with the stories I’m hearing every week about BNI members helping each other and the wider society. It has made me consider the variety of different ways in which we can all help each other and, for me, feedback really is one of the biggest things we can do.
As business leaders and owners, we’re always seeking feedback from clients about how we can improve the service or product we provide. We want to be the best and to deliver the best. It isn’t only our customers, however, that can provide that feedback. Other members of your network may well have valuable feedback to help you improve; colleagues, suppliers, staff, family etc
By seeking feedback from a wide variety of contacts we suddenly have a pile of gifts. Gifts that may help you get more from your team, may help you communicate with greater impact, may help you negotiate better deals or refine your service offering.
I encourage you all therefore, to seek feedback and to take the mindset of feedback being a gift. If we do this and are open to the feedback provided (never be defensive otherwise you’ll never get feedback again!) and truly listen to understand the other person’s perspective, you suddenly have a brand-new set of tools to develop yourself and your business.
There is, of course, a lot more about how to give and receive feedback well but for now start thinking about feedback being a gift - something of value and do two things:
1 – Seek someone out that you would like to help and give them a piece of constructive feedback to help them develop and one piece of feedback about something they do well
2 – Ask someone in your network to provide some feedback and listen. Don’t argue or justify why you do things as you do – just listen and say THANK YOU!
After all – we always say thank you for the gifts we receive, don’t we?