Dear leaders, I want to be clear in my message this week, language and words matter more now than ever before.
We are going to dive into Opinions Vs Feedback.
Hybrid Challenges: In the hybrid work world we are mostly operating in, landing that message, providing feedback and offering insights have to be clearer and more deliberate than ever. Many are missing the mark with hybrid communications.
It’s time to review small tweaks to have bigger impacts.
Sad Over Mad?
In Product teams, you often have retros, it is “a safe place” to review the last sprint. Often the safe place or space (in hybrid working) can be hostile.
Many frame it with Mad (things that made you mad), glad (things you are glad about and for), and sad (things that make you sad about the release/product).
In almost all retros like this, mad and sad overtakes glad and kills the celebrations, kills micro-moments, and concentrate on what could have been.
When I temporarily took over a Product team a few years ago, I instantly removed mad, it was simply sad and glad, you would start with glad (always start with a positive) and end quick fire with sad.
Removing ‘mad’, removed venting and negative opinions helped bring the teams closer and celebrate each other’s victories for longer and celebrate cross-functionally.
Just by removing one element – you can have better framing and better conversations. In some good news, some teams are now reframing this into (a) what worked, (b) what could have been better.
Why words and framing matters
I am a believer that opinions really cut up organisations, feedback helps to reshape products, people and progress.
You should not look to remove opinions, after all, we all have them, however, opinions are often just what you think or how you might be biased for or against something. Opinions rarely help guide you forward and can be your opinion versus someone else’s.
Feedback is action-orientated, it is built to add value not take value. Feedback should be constructive and a spin on improvement(s).
By being deliberate and adding a focus on feedback over an opinion you are setting the framing in a better light and encouraging improvement.
Pluses Focused Feedback? Pixar have ‘pluses’ in their review process of movies, all the company attends and can add a plus which adds value, the famous example (from Dan Coyle’s book the culture code the company culture playbook) is in Up and someone from outside the creation studio suggested a tweak (a joke) and it landed so well this plus was added into the movie.
Could you reframe feedback sessions to be pluses focused and frame feedback as a plus each time?
In the coming weeks when H2/2H is firmly in sight and essential you review how the previous six months have gone and how you need to reshape or optimise Q3 and Q4 can you remove opinions and add feedback and could these be framed as pluses not just as “plain feedback?”.
Thanks and have a great week ahead,