June means college graduations and for many, their first real job. And there’s plenty to like about real jobs – new friends, challenging problems to solve, and the steady paycheck.
But then there’s the flip side. Yes – I’m talking about…the F word.
Wait! This is a family show, so I’m not going to curse.
I’m talking about feedback. But for many, you might as well be cursing when you mention feedback. So that’s what we’ll talk about in the June series, The F Word – giving and receiving feedback.
Great feedback can be life changing. It can be the lighthouse that keeps you from crashing into the rocks.
Bad feedback? Well, bad feedback just makes you crash.
We need to get back to basics about what feedback is intended to do. Perhaps changing our perspective about feedback is as simple as changing our mind. This is what happened for Marc Allen.
By the time Marc Allen hired a new accountant at New World Library, they were already a success. New World had followed Shakti Gawain’s bestseller, “Creative Visualization”, with works from Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra. Their business was booming.
That’s why her findings surprised him at their six-month review. While she had a solid financial background, she had no Entertainment experience, let alone a specialty business like New Thought. As he tells the story, the conversation went something like this:
“Marc, do you realize that we spend about 70% of our book budget on manufacturing costs? Most publishing companies don’t spend that much.”
“I didn’t realize that.”
“And did you know that we’re spending the other 30% on marketing? I’ve done some research, and many publishers spend more.”
“Oh – that’s interesting.”
“I’m just saying that if we find some middle ground…if we spend a little less on our manufacturing costs and redirect that money into the marketing budget, we might see a shift in sales.”
“Hmmm…I never thought of it that way.”
She ultimately became their CFO.
Your first impression of their conversation might be, “Bright ideas can come from anywhere.” But take a second look. Did you catch the part about being receptive to coaching?
Many CEOs might have had a short, abrasive conversation as they focused on her inexperience. They could have challenged and shouted down the conclusions, lecturing her on how they knew how to sell bestsellers. However, Marc calmly listened to her ideas. Then he went one step further and started implementing them.
It’s time to look for little clues about what’s working and what’s not. There’s no reason to wait until your annual performance review; you’re probably getting a steady stream of information.
For example, keep that story going when someone builds on your ideas. Wrap it up when your VP starts checking his phone. And, like Marc Allen, keep your ears open for a suggestion that comes out of the blue.
Being receptive is step one to making feedback work for you. What sounds more enticing – days dominated by the bad F word or other F words like “fulfilling” and “forward thinking”?
Here’s your mantra when obstacles arise this week: “I’m coachable.”