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A Culture of Feedback at Next Jump

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How to create a culture of feedback and own your own feedback -- workshop by Next Jump's Head of Engineering, Tom Fuller. Given at Next Jump Leadership Academy to PACE US Air Force, June 7, 2017.

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A Culture of Feedback at Next Jump

  1. 1. Culture of Feedback Tom Fuller, Head of Engineering tom@nextjump.com @thom_fuller June 7, 2017
  2. 2. LHF “lying/hiding/faking” = Walking on EGG SHELLS What does LHF feel like? Like you can’t say what you really feel. Like people are not telling you things. Like it’s not safe to disagree. Like it’s not safe to be honest. It feels like walking on egg shells. Poor performing teams are surrounded by eggs shells. And poor performing teams destroy value. 2
  3. 3. CAN DATA PREDICT GOOD LEADERSHIP? Can we create a “credit rating” of leadership? Not “are you a great leader” but “are you doing the good behaviors that make great leaders?” And are you NOT doing the things that lead to bad leadership? Like credit: Do you pay for bills on time? Do you have a history of responsible spending? Have ever declared bankruptcy and walked away from your debt/responsibility? Do you have bad habits? NxJ is working on the leadership equivalent of this. 3 #1 thing a leader should NOT do = LHF
  4. 4. FEEDBACK DATA Finding the “Signal in Noise” Feedback data: we can measure what was not measurable before: the amount of feedback someone is getting But there is a lot of noise. Some feedback is more valuable than other. What piece of feedback is good & valuable and what is uninformed nonsense? 4
  5. 5. #1 Insight: Lowest performing teams are lead by leaders who are hiding Getting a lot of feedback doesn’t guarantee performance, but NOT getting feedback guarantees failure Feedback is a precursor to better results Like most things in life: What makes a great leader has some artistry to it. It's not a formula. But what makes a bad leader is much more consistent. KEY INSIGHTS 5 Growing NOT Growing
  6. 6. FEEDBACK IS EXPLODING 6 At an organizational level, is it scary to let employees give us their opinion whenever they want? Of course it is – but that horse has left the barn. People now post information about their workplace on a variety of online sites (Glassdoor, Facebook, and others) or share information privately with their friends. Josh Bersin Founder - Bersin by Deloitte “Nobody wants to admit defeat, failure, or any set backs … under performers don’t get or deny any real feedback … Like in the business world our CNO sees this as a needed competitive edge against our adversaries. At stake is nothing less than National Security.” Herman Shelanski VADM US Navy
  7. 7. What have we learned about feedback? How to design your culture to overcome these issues … 1) Fear of giving candid feedback 2) Fear of “looking bad” in front of peers 3) How to “own your feedback”
  8. 8. Problem #1: Fear of Giving Candid Feedback 8
  9. 9. 9 AM I GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT I REALLY THINK? Will I hurt your feelings? Am I being judgmental? Am I a hypocrite? Will I get in trouble?
  10. 10. “Cultures where everyone is nice are filled with inauthentic kindness” 10 RADICAL CANDOR https://www.radicalcandor.com/ Dr. Jim Loehr Human Performance Institute 1 2 3 4
  11. 11. Give 5 minutes at end of meetings … VISCERAL (FAST) vs THOUGHTFUL (SLOW) 11 LEARNING #1 If you give people a lot of time to write feedback – they will logic their way to being nice / political … and water-it-down And get more “empathetic” – and the empathy lowers their directness Often, the more time you give, the less feedback you get. They forget to do it.
  12. 12. People naturally “rate high” (at start) Like Uber or Netflix rating – people tend to “barbell” (high or low) When feedback is new in an organization, people tend to give 3s and 4s 2 = “what you expect from them” NORMALIZE “2” 12 LEARNING #2
  13. 13. People are so unpracticed at giving feedback – it is often ambiguous. The number clarifies what you mean. But the number alone is not enough. It does not tell give info about WHAT to improve And the number gives a data trail. NUMBER RATING + COMMENT 13 LEARNING #3 “I really liked the summary of results – a good innovation. But overall preso was a hard follow & I think you lost a lot of people” “good job.” sh#t sandwich blow off (amateur-sport back pat)
  14. 14. Problem #2: Fear of Looking Bad in Front of Peers 14
  15. 15. COACHING THE ‘REAL YOU’ vs. ‘FAKE YOU’ 15 Be authentic. Be yourself. Otherwise, you are getting feedback on a fake “professional” version of yourself. You are upgrading the “front.” You are learning how to be an expert in how other people think. But you cannot be great, unless you are an expert in how you think.
  16. 16. NOT TRYING IS WORSE THAN GETTING A BAD SCORE Leadership has to demonstrate that “taking a shot” is good. And that hiding is bad. Also – it is not intuitive, but we found that “investment in loss” is better than flat. If you are leading, you will get criticized. REDEFINE WHAT IS BAD 16 LEARNING #4
  17. 17. Problem #3: How to “own” your feedback? 17
  18. 18. HOW YOU ASK 18 LEARNING #6 Make it easy for others to tell you the truth The receiver is in charge (not the teller) It is up to you to invite the truth. By default you will get “comforting lies” ✘
  19. 19. WHERE DO EGG SHELLS COME FROM? 19 Shimon Waronker Founder TNAA Acclaimed Education Innovator Integrity is when our espoused theories (our beliefs) match our theories in use (what we do) Human nature means we all have a discrepancy in our integrity These gaps grow over time: “entropy of integrity” Feedback is a TOOL to ID your own eggshells
  20. 20. Higher performers seek feedback more FREQUENTLY Consistency vs intensity The combo of both QUANTITY and FREQUENCY builds to a habit of feedback FREQUENCY & QUANTITY MATTER MORE THAN THE SCORE 20 LEARNING #7 Leaders of High Performing Teams Leaders of Low Performing Teams
  21. 21. Value is in seeing PATTERNS It is rare that one piece of feedback is a “huge” insight – rather, seeing the patterns is insightful 21 FREQUENCY & QUANTITY MATTER MORE THAN THE SCORE
  22. 22. KNOWN GROUP + ANONYMOUS FEEDBACK 22 LEARNING #8 Candid feedback from peers that know you Easier to see patterns Ex: our MV21 leadership group
  23. 23. DEBRIEF 23 LEARNING #9 From Navy “PBEDs” process Process 1) Rate yourself 2) Comment most junior to most senior 3) Score on NO LHF Was that person only transparent on the question asked? Did they hold anything back? LHF is a higher standard. Ask someone else: “Tell me the question I should have asked you?” Ask yourself: “What question am I afraid you will ask?”
  24. 24. RECOVERY PROGRAMS 24 Feedback is often badly delivered, poorly phrased, unfair … hard to hear. But it is up to you to find the gold. Recovery Process: 1. Talk about it “vent” with a trusted partner (“burn off” emotion) 2. Sleep on it 3. Print out and read again 4. Cross out what doesn’t resonate 5. Highlight patterns LEARNING #10
  25. 25. Summary 25
  26. 26. Giving Feedback Looking Bad Owning Your Own Feedback LESSONS LEARNED SO FAR 26 1. VISCERAL (FAST) vs THOUGHTFUL (SLOW) 2. NORMALIZE “2” 3. NUMBER RATING + COMMENT 4. REDEFINE WHAT IS BAD: HIDING (getting “in the game” is good) 5. INFORMATE PUBLICLY 6. MAKE IT EASY FOR OTHERS TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH 7. FREQUENCY & QUANTITY MATTER (more than the “score”) 8. KNOWN GROUP + ANONYMOUS FEEDBACK 9. RECOVERY PROGRAMS 10. DEBRIEF 1 2 3 * * * *
  27. 27. FEEDBACK WORKSHOP 27 PREVIEW How to setup organizationally How to RECEIVE feedback How to GIVE feedback • Communicating Intent • Programs • How to authentically ask for feedback • How to ”own” your own feedback • How to recover • Fast & visceral • Frequent Biggest mistake: Not creating safety Biggest Mistake: Not “owning” your own feedback Biggest Mistake: Looking for the perfect words (creates “too little, too late”)
  28. 28. KEY INSIGHT 28 Getting a lot of feedback doesn’t guarantee performance, but NOT getting feedback guarantees failure.
  29. 29. Thank You tom@nextjump.com twitter: @thom_fuller

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