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The Critical Importance of Feedback By Dr. Brent Stephens, D.M. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.1.

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Presentation on theme: "The Critical Importance of Feedback By Dr. Brent Stephens, D.M. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.1."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Critical Importance of Feedback By Dr. Brent Stephens, D.M. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.1

2 Quote A true friend stabs you in the front. Oscar Wilde. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.2

3 Diplomacy No-one likes being told something that they do not want to hear. “The art of diplomacy is telling someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip” – but few have that art. We CAN and NEED to learn to accept and grow from feedback – HOWEVER the message is delivered. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.3

4 Listen – for your benefit! Fred Price, a well known evangelist recounts the story of when he was a laborer and one day a fellow laborer came over to him where he was having lunch and asked him if he had noticed that no-one wanted to sit with him when he had lunch. Fred acknowledged that he had noticed. The laborer replied “well, it is because you smell, man! Take a shower or change your clothes!” Fred recounts wanting to hit the guy for telling him he stank – until he realized that the man loved him enough to go out of his way and tell him! © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.4

5 What stops us growing In life, we have opportunities to learn and grow – what stops us learning? We have built in defense that we learn as children – some functional, some dysfunctional - that we use protect our fragile ego. We need to learn what our defense mechanisms are and manage them. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.5

6 Defense Mechanisms What are defense mechanisms? Without going into too much detail, they are a natural response when one feel threatened. Examples are: Denial: “it was not me” “no, I am not like that” Distortion: “that was not what happened” Projection: “sounds like you are describing Joe, not me” Passive aggressive: glaring at the message bringer, retaliating in a subtle way Rationalization: “it was not that bad, because…” Regression: anger, or more primitive response Repression: not dealing with the issue, forcing it out of thoughts © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.6

7 Ridicule Some use ridicule as a defense – against ridicule, there is no answer, as the case is never built, the person is simply discounted. Example:“Huh, I would not take that from X, she does not know what she is talking about!” –No facts there, just ridicule to deflect the message © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.7

8 Analyze The most important element of feedback is that without outside input, we can never grow! We need to lower our barriers and receive feedback. Once we are able to receive the information, we can analyze it for its true worth. Not all feedback is constructive but there is always something you can learn if you are prepared to analyze the information! © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.8

9 Randy Pausch Randy Pausch – famous for giving “the last lecture” at Carnegie Mellon – a lecture for professors to outline what they would say if it was their last lecture – ever. Except in Randy’s case, it was - as he had terminal pancreatic cancer. He talks in his book about how his football coach would push him and push him. One of the assistant coaches explained to him that it was a compliment. If the head coach had given up on him, he would not be pushing him. © 2013 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.9

10 Feedback offered From this example, Randy would take time to take a student aside and point out some of life’s lessons. –One student in particular did not realize the compliment paid in Randy taking time to talk to him – and did not receive the criticism. He continued to be a mediocre student. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.10

11 Solicit feedback! An associate pastor of a local church recounted how they had consultants come in and teach all the staff on the value of feedback and how they needed to encourage their staff to be open with them. He headed back to his office, on the way in, saw his assistant, recounted what he had learned and asked if she had any feedback. She looked at him dis-believingly and he said “no, really, I want to know – even if it hurts!” © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.11

12 Receive and analyze! She took him into his office and for an hour laid out his failings. He was taken aback. But listened. And it WAS painful. Some feedback he had heard before and discounted, some were new. However, he made the decision to improve in the areas outlined and shortly after was promoted to pastor, a position he had desired for a few years. The powers that be did not see the necessary performance to warrant the promotion until his assistant outlined his avenues needing improvement. Listening has its rewards. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.12

13 Gain? When someone takes the time to tell you something – look past the pain and analyze the content. Ask yourself “what do they have to gain by telling me this” and if it is clear that – if anything – they stand to lose something, the feedback becomes all the more valuable. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.13

14 SME (subject matter experts) If a SME takes the time to give you some feedback- LISTEN! Imagine what you would be paying for the advice if you had approached them. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.14

15 The Johari Window Johari adjectives: A Johari Window consists of the following 56 adjectives used as possible descriptions of the participant. The first few are: –Able, accepting, adaptable, bold, brave, calm, caring, cheerful, clever, complex, confident, dependable, dignified, energetic, extroverted, friendly, giving, happy, helpful, idealistic, independent, ingenious, intelligent © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.15

16 Quadrants Adjectives that are selected by both participant and peers: Open quadrant. Adjectives selected only by the participant: Hidden quadrant. Adjectives that are selected only by the peers: Blind Spot quadrant. Adjectives which were not selected by either remain in the Unknown quadrant. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.16

17 © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.17

18 Johari Feedback Participants in the exercise now have a clear picture of how their peers view them –And know the areas they need to work from the “blind spot” or “facade” A Nohari window is the inversion of the Johari window, and is a collection of negative personality traits instead of positive © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.18

19 Feedback in Engineering © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.19 Engineers build models with a feedback loop. There needs to be a means to check their work. Have you establish a feedback loop for your life?

20 The Good Book The Bible (Matthew 7:3 and Luke 6:42) talks about taking the plank out of your own eye before you take the splinter out of your neighbors eye. The message is clear – don’t criticize others as you have the same even worse faults. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.20

21 Optionally… Or is it? If you have had a splinter in your eye, you will know the extreme pain and discomfort - you want someone to take it out. If they do not remove their plank they will not see clearly to remove your splinter. You still want the splinter removed! Take the feedback and analyze it, even if you think the deliverer might not be a SME! © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.21

22 Psychometric testing Ever wondered about those psychometric tests that ask you “what do you think of yourself” and “what do others think of you?” Everyone thinks they are OK. But when viewed from others eyes, the picture become more clear. We are what others think we are… Take the feedback… © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.22

23 "The Builder" I watched them tearing a building down, a gang of men in a busy town. With a "Ho-Heave-Ho!" and a lusty yell, they swung a beam and a side wall fell. I asked the foreman, "Are these men skilled? The kind you'd use if you had to build?" He kind of laughed and said, "No, indeed! Common labor is all I need. You see, we can easily wreck in a day or two, what it has taken builders years to do." So, I thought to myself as I walked away, which of these roles have I tried to play? Am I a builder that works with care, measuring life by the rule and square, building my life to a well-laid plan, doing my deeds the best I can? Or, am I a wrecker walking the town, content with the labor of tearing down? Attributed to Andy Hickman © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.23

24 Don’t criticize? From the above there is the perception that there is no place for negative feedback, when in fact there is. Ideally, feedback should be given as a sandwich – something soft (positive), then the meat, then something soft again (encouragement). But if feedback could change someone’s life – don’t hold back. There is never a perfect time or manner to give feedback. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.24

25 If you want to grow… Research the topic of defense mechanisms. See if you can find the ones you use. Have someone close to you help you if you don’t think you use any. Remember, a defense is a natural response “fight or flight” is instinctual. Once you identify your defenses, write them on a scrap of paper or make a recurring note on your calendar. Learn to listen better and the next time someone tries to tell you something – be excited. Your world could be changed forever! © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.25

26 A protective society We have become a protective society. No-ones feelings can be hurt. Simon Cowell is scorned on American Idol for his harsh feedback. Make that honest feedback. Note that those who receive the feedback go on to be more successful. Simon Cowell is a SME. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.26

27 Want to change? Three frogs sitting on a lily pad. One decides to get off, how many are left? Three! The decision does not change anything, you have to ACT! © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.27

28 Solicit feedback… Approach those closest to you. Ask them for feedback. After they look at you in disbelief, assure them that you are serious. Receive the feedback. Analyze the feedback. Act on the feedback. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.28

29 Personally… Preparing this topic has caused me to look back on my life and realize how SME mentors have changed my life - by taking the time to speak into my life. How I have received feedback that I did not act upon and suffered as a result. How friends have been less successful because I did not take the time to “stab them in the front” to quote Oscar Wilde. How friends have stabbed me in the back instead of the front - thereby giving me the the opportunity to change. © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.29

30 You have just received feedback! This is a HUGE life-changing subject that I would encourage all reading this to research on their own. Remember, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear!” BE READY! © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.30

31 References Defence Mechanisms (n.d.) hanism hanism Hickman, Andy (n.d.) Pausch, Randy (2008). The Last Lecture. Hyperion Books. New York, NY. Wilde, Oscar (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) Irish writer and poet © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.31

32 References Johari Window - Feedback Loop – back_model.svg back_model.svg Special thanks to: – Larry Huey for his contributions © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.32

33 Help others grow! Feel free to pass this on, I can be contacted at or The deeds you do today may be the only sermon some people will hear today. - St. Francis of Assisi © 2010 by Dr. BRENT W. STEPHENS, D.M.33


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