The Feedback Hook

Whenever you’re working at an event, for work, for your kids PTA, for whatever and someone who hasn’t done any of the work for the event decides to come up and tell you all the things you could have done better, here’s a little trick I call the feedback hook you can use that leverages the power of driving change:

Step 1. Validate their idea

Step 2. Offer them an opportunity to make their idea happen, and

Step 3. Remove what obstacles you can between them and the actions required.

Before I give you an example of the feedback hook trick, I’m going to guess at what the typical conversation is when someone offers you feedback at an event you’ve worked hard on without their help.

Tell me if this driving people to change scenario looks familiar.

We’ll call our commenter Pam and you, our diligent, hardworking volunteer will be Brenda.

The Driving People to Change Scenario:

Pam: You know Brenda, what this school carnival could really use is more booths.  I think it would be so much better with more booths, or even with a few clowns maybe, or what about a juggler?

<More booths, clowns and jugglers would make this carnival better.>

Brenda: Uh huh.  We’ll take a look at that.

<She never helps and then she has all kinds of comments.  Who does she think she is?>

Pam: Okay.  Thanks.

<Okay. Thanks.>

How well did that work? Pam gave her input.  Brenda got frustrated and mad at Pam.  Pam walks away.  I’d call that interaction pointless.

Let’s try it again, this time let’s do the feedback hook trick and create a Driving Change Scenario:

Pam: You know Brenda, what this school carnival could really use is more booths.  I think it would be so much better with more booths, or even with a few clowns maybe, or what about a juggler.

<More booths, clowns and jugglers would make this carnival better.>

Brenda: Pam, those are all great ideas.  We need someone with ideas like those on our committee.  We start planning for the carnival in May, but you don’t have to wait until then. The PTA meets every third Thursday at 4 pm in the library.  The time commitment is about two hours a month, until carnival time.  Then we’re working about 3-4 hours a week for the month right before. I’d love to see you at the meeting next Thursday night.

<Those are great ideas.  I’ll need help if I were to even consider making those happen.  Pam should help if they are her ideas.  I’ll invite her to help.  We can use more people. She’ll want to know what she’s signing up for though before she agrees.  I’ll tell her. I hope she attends.>

Pam: You would? I hadn’t thought about getting involved, mostly because I didn’t know how.  Next Thursday would be great.  I’ll see you then.

<I’m going to go. This could be fun.>

Now, admittedly, I’ve tried the Driving Change Scenario only to have the real life Pam run away from the situation.  She wanted to give input, but she didn’t want to do anything.

Notice in the driving change scenario that Brenda didn’t agree to do anything, didn’t take on any burden.  She validated Pam’s suggestion and offered Pam an opportunity to make it happen. She offered to hook her into the group to make her feedback happen.  All you can do is offer.  That’s the first step.

That’s what you’re doing when you’re driving change: motivating yourself to act and offering others the opportunity to act with you.

By quickly explaining where the PTA meets and how much time the PTA takes, Brenda took two obstacles out of Pam’s way so she could more easily agree to attend.

If you don’t believe me that the feedback hook works, try it next time and see for yourself. Even if the constant commenter doesn’t bite on your offer, you don’t end up any the worse for trying.

So, why not try?

Now, get out there and drive change!

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2 thoughts on “The Feedback Hook

  • November 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm
    Permalink

    What a delightful turn of the whining into action! You are right, sometimes “Pam” will head for the hills, but then sometimes you get a hit and they stay to help make their idea happen.

    Monika is now using that with the condo board. Lots of neighbors like to gripe and want “someone” else to fix their problem. If they are not willing to work it, it is likely not a real problem.

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