How to solicit actionable feedback

How to solicit actionable feedback

Inviting others to help us uncover blind spots is one of the best ways to increase self-awareness and expedite growth. But it’s hard. It can feel scary and humbling, and most often frustrating.

Not frustrating because of the feedback provided, but because of the lack thereof. When we ask, “Hey, I’d love to know how I can improve. Do you have any feedback for me?” Nine times out of ten we are met with, “Nope, not that I can think of. You’re doing great!” So much for uncovering blind spots.

What can you do instead? Anonymous 360 review? Absolutely, but that certainly can’t be your only mechanism for collecting feedback. You need to be able to gather it more frequently and transparently.

If you want others to give you honest, actionable insights, then you need to change the way you ask for it. In this video, you’ll learn a simple, easy-to-apply method for soliciting feedback that delivers results. Use it with anyone—direct reports, your boss, peers, friends, your spouse, etc.—to increase self awareness and build trust in relationships.

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The business case for reflection

The business case for reflection

If you like to move fast and question the benefits of pausing for reflection, I get you. I’m the same way. But the two research studies I share in this video have shifted my perspective, and they might just do the same to you.

It’s hard to believe, but slowing down can actually speed us up. Professor Francesca Gino’s research shows that we perform better—with more confidence and competence—after pausing to reflect and learn from past experience.

So as we close out this crazy year, now is the time to reflect on what we’ve learned so we can enter 2021 with stronger clarity and purpose. In case you missed it, I’ve rounded up four of my signature reflection exercises to make the process easy and productive. Download all four FREE guides here.

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Year-end roundup: four reflection exercises

Year-end roundup: four reflection exercises

2020 has been quite the year. Whether yours overflowed with bright spots or unexpected hardships (or both), there’s no question that it was filled with new experiences. Rather than hastily rush into a new year, I encourage you to spend time reflecting on and learning from the past one first. A favorite quote of mine sums it up well:

“We don’t learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience.”

– John Dewey

Let’s not waste the opportunity to grow from our 2020 experiences and enter 2021 with stronger clarity, courage, and purpose. 

To help you do this, I’ve rounded up four of my signature reflection exercises and am giving them to you for FREE because I really want you to take advantage of this season of reflection. Each exercise serves a slightly different purpose, but they all guide you through a process to leverage insights from the past to skillfully and thoughtfully plan for the future.

Print them off. Pick the ones that resonate with you. Set aside quiet time to fully dive in. And trust the process. If you get stuck, engage a friend or colleague who knows you well—sometimes they can see things in us we can’t see ourselves. If you’re not convinced that it’s worth your time, watch this two-minute video and I’m 99% sure you’ll change your mind. Enjoy!

THE FREE PRINTABLE EXERCISES

2020 REFLECTION

This worksheet provides a quick exercise with several prompts on one page. It’s a great one to bring to a family dinner or team meeting and take turns sharing insights and responses. 2020 was one for the books and this is a fun printable to keep for memory’s sake.

VISION BUILDING

Too often, we allow fate to direct our path, but there is so much more we can influence and accomplish with a little thought and action. That’s where this guide comes in handy. While personal vision building can often feel overwhelming, this five-step guide makes it simple, accessible, and effective.

STRATEGIC PLANNING

We often overcomplicate strategic planning. In reality, a planning process that’s too complex results in lower execution rates. Simple is better. Use this guide to lead your team through a clean and easy process that drives ownership, clarity, and action. Bonus: editable PPT templates included.

PROFESSIONAL FIT

If you’re feeling disenchanted with your current job, this might be the one for you. This guide will help you identify your sweet spot—the place where your purpose, values, strengths, and interests overlap. I use this handout with my college students, but it’s applicable to any career stage.

SEND ME ALL FOUR!

Make it easy on yourself. Sign-up one time to receive all four downloads in a single email. 

New stories, new website

New stories, new website

I’m a sucker for statistics

You may or may not know that I’m a sucker for statistics. I love a good spreadsheet and am easily wowed by fun facts and compelling data. Even as a young girl, my favorite “toy” was all about the numbers: an old (yet priceless in my mind) 10-key printing calculator that I used to play office. 

Unfortunately, statistics alone are quickly forgotten and rarely compel one to action; however, when wrapped in story, it’s a different ballgame. In a research study at Stanford, students were asked to give one-minute speeches that contained three statistics and one story. Only 5% of the listeners remembered a single statistic, while 63% remembered the stories. Similar research studies reveal that our brains light up differently in response to stories than facts and data—stories spark emotion, build human connection, and motivate us to take action. 

While the work I design and deliver will always be data-informed, the real reason I do what I do is to influence the stories of the people I serve. I want them to experience work differently—to feel more capable, confident, and connected at work. I want organizations to shift their stories too—to find success because they value and invest in their employees and, in response, their employees value and invest in the organization.  

With all this in mind, I recently redesigned my website: www.abbeylouie.com. I hope it sparks a deeper commitment to strengthening the heartbeat of your organization: your people. On the site, you’ll find some interesting statistics (I just can’t resist), but most importantly, you’ll hear stories. Honest stories of growth and transformation—stories that hopefully inspire you to grow in your leadership and invest in your team. 

I’m a sucker for statistics
I’m a sucker for statistics
I’m a sucker for statistics
I’m a sucker for statistics

As we continue to navigate uncertain and challenging times, I encourage you to lead through story. Sharing the human experience builds trust. Allow your employees and colleagues to connect with you through vulnerable stories of joy, hope, pain, fear, frustration, and everything in between. By all means, continue to pursue facts and logic, but wrap them in story if you want to bring them to life and inspire change for the better. 

P.S. Huge thanks to Bryan Rupp for skillfully capturing these stories and sharing them through video. 

P.P.S. If you’re intrigued by the power of story and want to grow your natural storytelling abilities, Nancy Buffington is your gal. She’s the best of the best.

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