In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap, the job’s a game
And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake
A lark, a spree, it’s very clear to see
That a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!
The heart of this song from Disney’s Mary Poppins is simple: Some tasks must be completed, so make them easier to complete by adding humor, fun or a little spoonful of sugar.
Today, sugar is taking the form of sorbet. (Repeat after me with pinkies raised in solidarity.) Sorbet is a delightful fruited ice usually served before the main course to cleanse the palate.
Feedback is like a main course of a meal. Sorbet prepares you to receive the main course.
You need a project completed by Friday, but your team member is not getting the message that the priorities have switched and you want to scream.
Your co-founder responds to customer questions incredibly fast, but they don’t stop long enough to proofread and their hasty replies keep creating awkward situations.
You are a week away from beta-test of the new application and customers keep sending major enhancements that would set the project behind several months.
Every day you deal with people that you need to be headed in the right direction.
People that you rely on. That you have poured your trust, time, money into.
You may feel like screaming or throwing that new smartphone across the room, but that would not be wise. Not only would you have to explain to your significant other why you just cost them several hundred dollars on yet another phone, but giving feedback through anger or frustration can crush all of that trust and goodwill that you have built with the person you need to give feedback to.
You chose that employee or contractor for the skills and expertise they bring to your business. Do not shut them down with harsh feedback.
Your co-founder – your partner – is an ally that shares your passion and dedication to this dream. Do not alienate them with harsh feedback.
Your customer choose to work with you. You are building a positive work relationship. Do not lose them to a competitor because you cannot deliver feedback in a positive way.
You solve problems for a living. Help people solve problems by giving them constructive criticism delivered in a way that helps them to make positive change.
Give feedback as quickly as possible after the issue arises.
Give constructive feedback that helps the person to improve.
Give them information and guidance. Set them up to succeed.
And that means that you have to be in a calm, constructive mindset in order to deliver feedback that improves trust with the person.
The purpose of feedback should be to provide information and guidance to someone in order to enable them to grow, learn and improve.
How do you improve the chances that a person will hear your feedback, listen to your constructive criticism and move forward to make positive change?
Begin with sorbet – the sweet stuff that cleanses the palate – to get people ready to listen to your suggestions. Your feedback. Your criticism.
Feedback sorbet is a simple concept that you can apply immediately.
You will start to see people become more open to your feedback. Actively try to improve and heed your advice. The more you use it, the easier it becomes.
You will become an example to those around you on how to give advice.
Feedback Sorbet is simply giving three positives first before one suggested change. Three good, then one improvement.
Give three spoonfuls of sorbet – three positives – to prepare the person for one piece of feedback.
Instead of saying: Your document for people you will be interviewing is way too long. There is no way anyone would read through all of that.
Try: You put a great deal of thought into the content, and I can see you researched thoroughly. It shows you care to set your interviewees up for success. And I think it’s a fantastic idea to put the information on your website.
Consider splitting the one large document into 3 smaller documents to help people absorb the amount of information. That way people who have been interviewed often can refer straight to the details instead of reading the beginner information.
Now the first few times you do this 3- to-1 rule, you may feel like you are kissing up to someone. Like it’s not you.
So use words that sound like you.
Maybe instead you say: Dude, I can’t believe how much content you cranked out so quickly! I know people are going to love that you did all that research to save them time. Great idea to put it on your site when you’re ready.
Since some people will have been interviewed many times before, maybe separate the content into beginner, details, and tech specs so they can go straight to what they need.
Be authentic but be positive.
Try it next time you have some constructive criticism you need to deliver. Over time, you will be faster at finding and articulating the positive feedback to use in your Feedback Sorbet.
Be an example for people around you on how to give feedback.
The more often people see you use Feedback Sorbet, the more open people will be to hearing your feedback, because they will see by your continued use of Feedback Sorbet that you value them, you value their contributions, and you have confidence in their ability to grow, learn and succeed.
And when your people succeed, they help YOU succeed.
Time to Practice Feedback Sorbet:
No traditional workwork this week. This week I am in need of your feedback.
I am 10 episodes in and just starting to get the hang of this. I write, edit, produce, publish, blog as a one person machine. Such is the life of a dream chaser, right?
I am proud of the episodes I have created for you, but I continue to look for ways to improve. Ways to innovate. Engage you. Help you. Entertain you.
Give me constructive feedback, because I want to provide you help on the people issues in your business that are keeping you up at night.
Please tweet me @metsyc or email me at metsy [@] metsy.com to let me know what YOU want to talk about on the Create Your Culture podcast.
Here are a few examples to get you started.
- Are you suffering from decision fatigue and need help figuring out who are the right people to get on the bus?
- Are you happy with your team but are tired of dealing with personality conflicts and communication breakdowns?
- Is everything great but you want some inspiration from other entrepreneurs and startups about how they are managing their teams and building an amazing company culture?
- Would you be interested in hearing a segment from a seasoned HR professional on managing employee issues? A recruiter or sourcing professional on how to find those future magic team members.
I still want to keep Create Your Culture episodes under 30 minutes if I can, but I’m open to holding mini-interviews with other people – startup founders, entrepreneurs, small businesses – who like you are learning as you go, following your instincts, looking to get people on the bus to take on the tasks you don’t want to do or just shouldn’t be doing. People who are building positive, productive cultures.
Tell me how I can help you. How the Create Your Culture podcast can better help you.
Now for Julie Andrews singing the delightful Mary Poppins
Disney’s Mary Poppins classic song: A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. I sang it in the shower this morning. Trust me, you want to hear Julie Andrews sing it.
Thank You For Listening!
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Listen to this Episode
Play episode 009 of Create Your Culture below: