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Feedback – even when it stings or is wrong – can be tremendously helpful. We can learn from it and make necessary adjustments. At the least, we get an idea how others perceive us.
But feedback that is about something too long ago is just worthless and it usually only serves one of two intentional or other unintentional outcomes:
- To pick a fight
- To pile on – for one reason or another
Given that collaboration is the new control (or something like that) I present to you the following rule of how to give feedback:
Something happens that needs feedback. It’s 8:05 a.m. The clock starts ticking and you have 24 hours to give that piece of feedback. At 8:06 a.m. tomorrow the right to hold a grudge or hold it over somebody’s head has been forfeited.
It sounds simple but it’s harder than it should be. But it works. Here’s are the reasons:
- It sets a deadline and many people are deadline driven.
- It gives us a chance to address the feedback in a meaningful way. The event happened in the near past and we can learn from it together.
Before starting this, I remember feedback presented months after something happened. Think old school annual reviews, for example.
Those time-delayed communications are often worthless.
- People don’t even remember it.
- People recognized it and changed things and have for months. Why hold it over their heads?
- People remember it differently. “Were you even there?” LOL.
The 24-hour rule, which we use in the Trappe Family and which I train marketing teams on does create some logistical problems.
Let’s say I’m traveling in India and 10.5 hours ahead of my wife, that’s a hurdle. But if it’s important enough she or I will find a way:
- Stay up late or get up early.
Find a way if it matters and if it doesn’t let it go. Forgive and forget.
Picking non-face-to-face channels can be a hurdle for some. I know that there were some conversations I never had with my late German grandmothers because we mostly talked on the phone and not often in person.
However, it’s time to move forward. I would recommend phone over email and in person over phone.
The world moves too fast today to wait. This hit me hard when I worked with a marketing team pre-24-hour-rule era. Team members were holding onto feedback for months and the team actually lost some easy wins because it took them months to fix it – as opposed to a day or two.
It’s not easy. Whatever is that is worth doing? But it helps teams move forward quickly and evolve together. And it gets people off hoarding things for that one-time clash of “here’s all the stuff that’s wrong.”
Evolving together is powerful! It doesn’t happen without good and quick communication.