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Absorbing Feedback

2 months ago | Subodh Gupta: Subodh's Blog

We all want to improve, absorbing feedback is the most important step in the process of improvement. Even when we get feedback, we don't know how to act on it.We have good techniques for giving feedback like SBI (Situation, Behavior, Impact) however, it took me some time to develop a good framework to absorb and act on feedback. Let me start with a real-life situation:A couple of years back, I received feedback, however incapable of acting on it. I was struggling to make any improvement. During this phase, I developed the framework which helped me. This framework has two attributes "Understand Deeply" and "Act Swiftly". Understand Deeply is about understanding the feedback and situations where behaviour is depicted so that you can relate to the situation. Some situations bring out the same undesired behaviour. It is also very important to understand the intent of the feedback. Act Swiftly talks about acting on feedback, taking steps to implement the feedback and correct the behaviour. It is really important to act promptly on feedback, people are more likely to give feedback if they see action on it.These behaviours don't work in isolation but rather has an amplifier impact when combined together.Let's start with the first quadrant on the top left corner and go anti-clockwise.Insincere quadrant, in this quadrant feedback, is well understood however not ready to act. There could be multiple reasons for not acting on a feedback example it requires some fundamental behaviour change, requires too much effort etc. One way to change is to try to divide the feedback into smaller pieces and tackle a piece at a time. Indifferent quadrant this is the hardest quarter to be in where you don't (want to) understand the feedback because the intent to act on the feedback is missing. Change needed in this situation is fundamental. Burnout, de-motivation or lack of interest could be some of the reasons. Taking a break sometimes help, if its a team, work or manager related issue changing the team or even the company might also help.Next comes Frustrated quadrant where feedback is being  acted upon is not getting addressed and all the is going waste. It's best to take a step back to try and understand the feedback more deeply. Same feedback in different situation could have very different meanings.True and lasting change happens when we understand the feedback and act upon it promptly to go through change-learn-improve cycles. Remember when the feedback is well  understood it becomes easy to incrementally improve.Hope this helps.