Take it in the way it’s intended!

Have you ever fallen in love with a project and become sooooo close to it that you don’t see some glaring opportunities for improvement?  Others can see it but you can’t.  You’ve locked into the project so much that you’ve locked out everything else and it’s created a kind of blind-spot for you!

Recently I’ve been testing out a new product that I’m working on with friends and colleagues and I thought I’d share the interesting observations I’ve had during this process.  As you know, it’s lovely when people agree with what you’re doing and like the concept.  However, it becomes more interesting when you’re challenged about something you’ve become wedded to during the creation process or someone is on a completely different page to you and throws the proverbial spanner into the works making your mind dart in different directions. I’ve had a number of these moments and noticed that my response has hit all areas of the spectrum from ‘that’s a really good point’ to ‘yeah, yeah’ and ‘that’s not what I’m hearing!’  One thing for sure is that I’ve spent time reflecting on every comment.  Some have made me test my own belief systems, some have made me check my own learning, to see some of those blind-spots, and others have helped me realise that the initial thinking was correct.  However, I now feel all of this has instigated a new and enhanced way of thinking which has resulted in a stronger proposition that can flex in a variety of ways in the future and thankfully removed some of the blind-spots that were initially in place.

So why am I telling you this?  Because we are going through some pretty crazy times at the moment.  Some businesses are flying high whilst others are drowning and some are just about holding it together.  Everyone has been put at immense pressure to deliver, especially leaders with the new lockdown measures that are taking place.  It’s during these times that we often feel we have to show our worth and have all the answers.  However, this is a real time to involve others and embrace their feedback.  Our teams on the frontline often have a clearer view of what people are needing, as they are the ones who are being asked for those products and services.  Why not check to see if there are some gaping holes that you can fill for customers just by tweaking some of your processes.  Is there a service you could provide just by looking at it from a different perspective?  Years ago, it was our Contact Centre at Mortgage Express that enabled us to go back into new business.  Our customers were asking for products that weren’t available in the market and we picked up on that fact and opened up a new and immensely profitable niche product.

We all know that feedback is crucial …. and even more so during these periods.  But not just from our customers, from our staff too.  It’s been a testing time to say the least, leading and managing our teams whilst working remotely and this looks to continue.  As a leader you need to know where you are getting in the way of your people achieving their best work?  Ask them what it is you do that works well and what you could be doing to support or challenge them to achieve even better results?  Take time to reflect and understand what is really meant by their feedback and rather than reacting, respond from a place where you feel your people are helping you to be the best version of yourself.  Allow the prickly emotion to dissolve and you will hear it in the way it was intended!! 😉  As Brene Brown says ‘we’re here to get it right, not be right’.  What are you doing to create the environment for you and yours to achieve that sentiment in your workplace?

Of course, there’s one other form of feedback that I’d like to highlight today and that’s compliments.  Interestingly, over the last couple of months we’ve been touching on the giving and receiving of compliments in the culture change programme.  So many of us feel uncomfortable both giving and receiving, but we did realise that the more we practised it, the easier it became.

Think about the last time you gave or received a compliment.  How did it make you feel?  It really is true that it affects both parties positively.  So at a time when we could all do with some extra kindness in our lives, why don’t you see if there’s an opportunity for you to spread some warmth, boost other’s wellbeing and confidence and help them see the value they bring.  It will create such a positive impact for you both.  It was Mark Twain that said ‘he could live for two months on a good compliment’.

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