Appreciating the Rich Nourishment of Feedback

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Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

 Kenneth Blanchard

Yes, the Kenn Blanchard, originator of Situational Leadership as it departed in to version 2. The quote matters; without feedback there will be no champions. Without someone — the old-fashioned sports coach or the modern leader — to provide honest comments and suggestions there will be no improvement. Feedback must be of the 3C kind — Concrete, Constructive and Caring. And it must be a fulfilling experience!

10.000 kicks, times and hours

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I fear not the man who has practiced 10.000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10.000 times.

 Bruce Lee.

I don’t know when Bruce Lee said this, but it rings true in so many ways. If one practice session takes an hour there’s a dead match with Malcolm Blackwell’s 10.000 hours as a tipping point prerequisite for superior performance. So, hang in there, focus and practice … or maybe just read the book?

By the way — the quote was brought to me by Luc Limère for the Alstom AMP cards; have grouped this with future quotes from the same collection under the AMP-tag.

The Essence of Feedback

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We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

 Anaïs Nin.

It usually takes half a day of hard leadership exercises to get to the essence of the quote. Please read it again, nothing captures the risks and rewards of good feedback better.

Image abstractions and tough role plays may be needed for you to realize how much of your own understanding, attitude and behavior is part of the feedback you’re trying so hard to deliver on a perfectly objective and neutral level.

Only you don’t; everything is in the eye of the beholder, your’s and your feedback too. Knowing you’re part of the equations is part of the solution; any and all feedback starts with yourself and your realization of your role in the interaction, you wish to give feedback.

Planning Before Covey…

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In preparing for battle, plans are useless but planning is indispensable.

 Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Whether unplugged and dependent on only yourself, or faced with an uncertain situation, which may go haywire, you need to plan. Planning itself is a perfect exercise where you realize the goal while identifying both risks and stakeholders. Do not, however, feel obliged to follow the plan! If a yellow light pops up as a warning, stop and reconsider. Take the best from the plan and proceed in a new direction, if that is what is called for. And, yes, this goes for business models as well as safety challenges; observe the yellow light and do not get stuck in old patterns.

As for prioritization, I may get to Eisenhower as the prequel to Covey’s exquisite priority quadrants at a later date…

Value of values

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If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

 Malcolm X.

Some ask why we spend time in leadership training, helping the participants to identify their core values. Part of the reason is summarized above. Without the strength of personal convictions — be that great visions or a simple word — decisions may become unnecessary difficult to both the individual leader and in particular to his or her followers, trying to decide on the leader’s behalf.

Obligation of the Facilitator

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I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.

Albert Einstein.

Thank that matches the role of the modern leader as well. Saying neither “what” or “how” but rather leading with a meaningful “why”?

In terms of training, it is the requirement of the class, the need of the participants and the artful guidance of the facilitator that creates the robust foundation for new skills and habits. The planned text motivates far less then the brain’s need for concrete solutions.