Providing Feedback

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Sometimes you just have to take the plunge when your mind tells you to do so.  As I grow older, I have released myself from the prison of fear with respect to making mistakes. Growing up in the Caribbean, my parents encouraged me to talk about things that affected me. Their goal at the time was to help me find and use my voice. Preparing me no doubt for the challenges I would encounter as I matured.

We are all socialized differently. Throw into that mix, our cultural differences, exacerbated by geographic boundaries. Some of us are caught between being introverted and extroverted. Still many of us are moved by the situation at hand to allow us to voice opinions, somewhat guardedly, as not to be considered a rogue within the context of societal constructs.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with the Dean of the school where I am pursuing my studies, to share my thoughts about the program. I was prompted to provide feedback because of a desire to see the program (Conflict Analysis and Resolution) forge stronger ties with business interests/communities in and out of its immediate geographic location. There is no doubt that many decisions are yet to be enacted and I may be speaking out of turn. Hell, I may even be a tad impatient with the realization of expressed goals. But I believe, that even as we strategize, innovate and execute, our discussions should encourage that fundamental loop called feedback. I gained a new appreciation for the difficulties that are par for the course in the competitive world of academia.

We are apt as humans to get defensive when others are critical of our decisions and how we act. But consider for a minute that there is no ill-will and there is genuine concern being expressed. Imagine also the rich dialogue that will follow, should you decide to remove the fortress and acknowledge that their are gaps between expectations and outcomes. When one quiets the noise related to feelings of being under attack, it is at this intersection that creative discoveries are made.

Impromptu discussions can also provide an occasion to exchange ideas that can be the miraculous salve needed to position an entity ahead of the competition. People are willing to share when the environment encourages it. Open door philosophies work when the principles behind its existence is practiced. Even better is the momentum that is built around a single idea, that then grows to be a significant part of a company’s strategy.

Irrespective of your line of business, encourage opportunities for open exchange. The process can either be formal or informal. Of course, there are protocols to observe and the sensitivity of the matter will inform how the feedback is provided. Don’t be the obstacle to your success. Only you can determine when you need to make your move.

Copyright 2013 Suzette Henry Campbell

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