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Thank You, Sir. May I Please Have Another?

Posted by on February 7th, 2013 with 0 Comments

Evaluation is stress inducing, uncomfortable, and – more often than not – unpleasant. So why should we bother?

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
– Winston Churchill

Oh, I guess I should remember to send my back a thank you card for occasionally ‘calling attention’ to it’s unhealthy state. Isn’t that right, Winston?

All kidding aside, evaluation is important.

We use feedback in all it’s various forms to know where we need to improve, to assess our value, or to know if we ‘won’.

Remember, if games – whether your game is Angry Birds or Basketball – didn’t have a scoring system, you’d get bored in about 10 minutes. It’s the same with the game of life (or work).

Great coaches, from basketball legend John Wooden to executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, have repeatedly preached the value of feedback.

Feedback or evaluation comes in many forms, from many sources:

  • From coaches, teachers, or mentors that you may (or may not) respect,
  • From cultural norms,
  • From peers; often uninvited,
  • From assessments, like 360 reviews or psychometric testing,
  • From the mirror, often the toughest judge,
  • From the scoreboard, which – while often misleading or incomplete – never lies,

Two of my favorite sports quotes are basketball player Rasheed Wallace’s line, “The basket don’t lie”, and football coach Bill Parcell’s mantra, “You are who your record says you are”.

I often borrow Parcell’s line during my coaching sessions, saying, “You are who your resume says you are”.

All of these forms of evaluation are flawed, incomplete, and uncomfortable; but together they provide a useful, important version of the truth.

Which is why you should say, “Thank you, sir. May I please have another?”

SMART as Hell Exercise:

  • Identify and plan an opportunity for your next source of feedback.
  • When it ends – no matter how painful or tramatic – simply reply, “Thank you. I know it’s never easy to give feedback. I appreciate it.”
  • Then go walk it off… 
Share your ‘post-feedback’ comments below.
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