Love as a Feedback Strategy

EPISODE 12

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Let’s talk about the F word. That’s right… Feedback. Something that everybody needs, but not everybody always wants to hear. Why is giving and receiving feedback so hard sometimes? How do we unlock the true potential and benefit of feedback in our life? Through stories and discussion, we try to figure it out together in today’s episode.

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Feel the love! We aren't experts - we're practitioners. With a passion that's a mix of equal parts strategy and love, we explore the human (and fun) side of work and business every week together.

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Jeff Ma
Director

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Frank Danna
Director

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Maggie McClurkin
Producer

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Lydia Hutchings Bardin
Project Manager

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Transcript

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Jeff Ma
Hello, and welcome to love as a business strategy, a podcast that brings humanity to the workplace. We're here to talk about business. But we want to tackle topics that most business leaders shy away from. We believe that humanity and love should be at the center of every successful business. I'm your host, Jeff Ma. I'm a director at Softway, an agency based out of Houston, Texas that specializes in digital transformation, culture and branding. Each episode, we dive into one element of business or strategy, and test our theory of love against it. And today, we are talking about feedback, an eight letter word that can sometimes feel like a four letter word. And it's something that everybody needs but not everybody wants to hear all the time. So this is a hot topic at Softway. And I wanted to assemble a special group to talk about it with me today. And so with me, I have Frank. Frank, hello.

Frank Danna
Hey, Jeff.

Jeff Ma
Usual Suspects and we also have the one and only Maggie our executive producer is what we like to call her. And we've invited her back to talk, Maggie. Hello.

Maggie McClurkin
Hello. Glad to be back.

Jeff Ma
And we have a a first time guest someone very special to all of us. Miss Lydia. Hello, Lydia.

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
Hey, y'all.

Jeff Ma
And and Maggie and Lydia are project managers here at Softway, and two of the best, and we wanted to incorporate this project management perspective here today. And remove the bosses, if you will. We've gotten rid of we've gotten rid of Moh and Chris and we want to talk about them behind their back. So that's really what this episode's gonna be about. I'm kidding. Before, before we begin, I want to do some icebreakers as usual, and so, Frank, let's start with you. I'm pulling up the icebreakers This is great.

Frank Danna
Pass.

Jeff Ma
Describe the worst haircut you've ever had.

Frank Danna
The worst haircut I've ever had was when I was 12 years old. And Astroworld was still a thing here in Houston.

Jeff Ma
Mm hmm.

Frank Danna
My dad said that he would buy me a season pass to Astroworld, he would get me a season pass Astroworld if you could shave my head. Like he's like, I will get you. I will. Yeah, I will buy you a season pass. If you have a shaved head, you have to shave your head in order to get it. And I said, sounds like a fair deal. And so he shaved my head in the backyard. And I had for that summer, the worst possible haircut because it was it was splotchy and it like wasn't pro at all. But I was at Astroworld a lot that summer so it was fantastic.

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
Nice.

Jeff Ma
Why did he want to shave your head?

Maggie McClurkin
Yeah.

Frank Danna
I have absolutely no idea. I think that he just wanted to dare me to do something wild just to see if I would do it and I ended up doing it. But it was a terrible haircut.

Jeff Ma
Interesting parenting strategy, but you turned out great. So I guess it worked.

Frank Danna
Thanks, Jeff. Love you so much.

Jeff Ma
You're welcome. Maggie, on to you describe your most questionable fashion choice ever.

Maggie McClurkin
Well, so I was born in the mid 90s. So I grew up in the early 2000s, like middle school aged and so that was that was a rough time, your awkward phase in the early 2000s like coming together at the same time. So I remember specifically, in middle school crocs were popular and also gauchos were popular. If you don't know what gauchos are. They're basically flowy Capri pants

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
They're wonderful.

Maggie McClurkin
I remember. I remember picking this outfit out and thinking "dang, this is fire". It was Gaucho pants. Black Gaucho pants with lime green crocs. And then on top it was a white camisole. Of course, with a camo shrug. If you don't know what a shrug is, it's like a sweater that's cut off like mid mid drift, I guess. And you're supposed to wear a shirt under it, obviously, because it's just a little shrug. And I just I remember walking onto the bus in the morning and being like, everybody's looking at me because I look so cool right now. And now I I wish my friends had said something.

Jeff Ma
You wish you'd gotten that feedback, huh?

Maggie McClurkin
Ha. ha. ha. ha.

Frank Danna
Mmm, Jeff. Good job.

Jeff Ma
Topical. Well, I learned a lot in that icebreaker about fashion. And, you know, a new definition for shrug for sure. Okay, cool.

Maggie McClurkin
This was probably like 2006. So prime prime fashion year.

Frank Danna
Oh, yeah. No, very good.

Jeff Ma
Well, Lydia, your question is very different. These are all feedback themed just in case you hadn't noticed. If someone had to tell you that you have a booger hanging out of your nose, who in your life would you want to deliver that news? Who would you trust with that feedback?

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
I'm gonna be really honest. I don't care who it is. Whoever's the closest in proximity, right? Like, if I have something hanging out of my face, I hope the first person to see it's gonna tell me

Maggie McClurkin
That's a true friend.

Jeff Ma
Well, that's perfect, because you do actually have a booger... I'm just kidding.

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
Thanks for the feedback, Jeff.

Jeff Ma
You're welcome. So I'm really excited again, to be joined by Maggie and Lydia, because, you know, mostly, first of all, because there's some of my favorite humans in the, world, and I mean that. But also because they're excellent project managers. And to me, project managers are just constantly surrounded by feedback, whether it's feedback that you know, you have to give to team members or feedback that you're getting from others, like clients and stakeholders. I feel like especially at Softway, our project managers are like the best people to talk to, if you're trying to unpack feedback. And so, you know, I really wanted this episode to be really centric around what you guys your guys's perspective and kind of helping us unpack what love's got to do with any of this. Right. So to kick us off, Lydia, you are our guest, I wanted to start with some stories. I think feedback to me always has stories associated with it. Feedback is just a thing. Lydia, do you have just to kick us off any stories around when you think of feedback? You know, what is the story that stands out to you?

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
Yeah, actually, Jeff, I think the most memorable story around feedback for me and the one that I took the most learnings away from was with you specifically. As you all know, when I started at Softway, I did not have a background in project management. It was new to me. And when I started you guys, Frank was with you, you guys were off traveling the world facilitating the incredible Seneca Experience to so many people. And the rest of us were back home cheering you on from afar. Still working on projects as you guys were also doing while traveling. But I for whatever reason, you seemed to trust me. And I felt like at the time that I did not have the tools that I needed to be successful. And I had this thing building up inside of me of I don't know what I'm doing. My the person that's supposed to be training and teaching me is traveling around the globe. And even if I reach out to him, he's sound asleep or getting ready to facilitate, you know, a Seneca Experience. And so I did what I think can be easier to do, which is I sucked it up for a while and I was like, I'll be fine. I'll be fine. But in reality, what was happening is internally I was becoming increasingly frustrating, frustrated, and there were likely some bad behaviors that came from that. And I remember just getting to a point I was actually going on vacation, I had a few days that I had planned to take off. And right before that, I was like, I'm gonna wait until the day before I leave for vacation, so that I could give Jeff this feedback, I'm gonna send him an email. And if there's some kind of response, I'll be on vacation. So I then get a few days before I have to respond to however he reacts. Because I realized so much of the culture of feedback at Softway has helped me realize that I have an expectation of a negative response or punishment and Softway team members continue to prove to me that's not how you know it goes. But that was something from previous experiences I expected. So I wrote this email to Jeff. I think I rewrote it probably four or five times. And I it's a I've just blocked it out because I was so worried about it. And send an email, I was like, I don't feel like I have what I need. I think I'm failing, miserable. And I don't even remember your response. But from that, we have a great relationship now where we're able to be very open and honest, which has been good. And it kind of threw me for a loop because your response was so welcoming of my feedback. Despite how in my first attempt, I was learning how to give it. Um, it was a huge shock to me, but it's, it's, it almost allowed me to then be able to receive feedback from others and continue to give it because of the way that you responded to me giving you feedback. The beginning of our relationship. So, yeah.

Jeff Ma
I'd actually never heard that story in that entirety before. I'd first of all, like to apologize. I still feel bad. But But also, I didn't realize I didn't realize just how much pressure you'd packed up into that moment. On my end, I just received some really good feedback. I was like, oh, this is thank you for letting me know. And..

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
And I think the reality of it is what I realized once I delivered the feedback is that the pressure that I was feeling was more about how you're going to react. What I needed from you wasn't that monumental. There wasn't a huge miss, it was that I had fear around how you were going to respond. And that's what was causing me stress.

Jeff Ma
Thank you for sharing that. I'm gonna move on to Frank. Let's do Frank.

Frank Danna
Sure.

Jeff Ma
What story you got.

Frank Danna
So it was during our travels around the world. And, and at one point in time we were we were in Singapore. And we were actually it was maybe like 30 minutes, 20 minutes before we were going to go and start one of these Seneca Experiences. And we were sitting in a room having a conversation about making choices that were like up until the very last few minutes before this event. We're sitting there going, what are we going to do about this one particular situation, And I noticed that Mohammad, as we were talking in the conversation, he started to shut down a little bit. And he became like very closed and very just like, yeah, whatever, no, like very quick to respond in very like one word one syllable responses. And I, and you can feel the temperature of a room change when someone shuts down. And most of the time, we're not brave enough to stand up and say, Hey, can we address this? Can we move through this, when someone's shutting down, we kind of shoved them to the side, ignore it, and move forward and feel that sense of awkwardness, that sense of uncomfortability that happens as a result of it. And I struggle with giving, you know, feedback in the moment or asking, you know, for critical feedback, and so, I felt that in this moment, at this time, I had to be the one to push and to give you know, the fear of confrontation took control. And I felt like I was gonna throw up. I was like, I'm gonna die. This is the worst thing that's ever gonna happen. But I was sitting there and I remember myself with my laptop open, kind of trying to hide in my laptop as I saw him shut down as I saw the room kind of grow quiet. And no one's coming to a discussion. No one's coming to a consensus. And I knew that I had to close my laptop and actually speak up and give that feedback. Mohammad, I noticed that you just shut down. I think we need to talk about this, what's going on? Let's discuss it and let's move past it. And I was shaking while I was while I was giving this and I was telling him, hey, we can't shut down in this moment. We have to move forward. We have to make a decision. And what's interesting is pushing past that, that space. It creates this sense of relief for everyone in the space, not just yourself. You know, if it's just between two people, like Lydia mentioned, you build up this this mental image of something going disastrously wrong. But then when you are able to get past that, whatever that block is, and give the feedback that's necessary, it's almost euphoric. Because when the person receives the feedback in a way, you've released it and said, like, here it is, this is what I got for you. And it's up to them to receive it and engage with it. And in that moment, Mohammad appreciated the fact that someone stood up and said, Hey, this isn't right. The way we're having this discussion isn't right, we need to move forward. So I think for me, that was one of the biggest revelations for practicing giving people feedback and critical feedback in the moment instead of waiting for days, weeks or months to be able to deliver something to someone.

Jeff Ma
Nice. Thank you. Maggie. What story you got.

Maggie McClurkin
Um, first one that comes to mind was actually about Chris and he's not here so we can talk about it. Um, but as a project manager which I'm sure Lydia can empathize with this but specifically with your project leads, they're very stretched thin. For the most part, they're usually on multiple projects. And you're you're having to vie for time vie for attention. More often than not with specific people on your team. That's just a part of the game and a part of the job. Which is, is normal. And so Chris was a project lead on a project I was on it was an internal project. And I was having a tough time because the team was going through a really big transition period, I felt really lost. And I was relatively new to the team. I wasn't the project manager from the beginning of the project I was put in there. And so I kept trying to schedule a one on one with Chris. And he kept accepting and then I think, maybe two times he either can't Well, two or three times either cancelled or just didn't show up to a one on one and I was so upset. But mostly because like I said, I would have understood the like, Hey, I can't I need to move it. Something came up. It was the accepting the meeting and I'm waiting in this meeting room for like 30 minutes waiting for him to show. And I've like texted him a couple times. And he hadn't responded. And so I was upset. And I remember going to, I'm pretty sure I went to Ashley, who's another who's a senior project manager at the time. And she, she's a mentor to me. And so I went to her and I was just really upset. I was like, I don't know what to do. And she's like, you need to tell him and I was like, Oh, I don't, I'm not gonna do that. And she's like, no, you need you need to set up a meeting with him. Tell him it's really important and tell him you have feedback for him. And he'll come and I was like, Oh, okay. And I mean, like, Chris. I mean, like, Frank and Lydia have said it's really nerve wracking. And mostly for me, it was nerve racking because it feels super vulnerable to be like, hey, sitting in that meeting room waiting for you hurt my feelings, like, like that feels like, I don't know, to me that's very vulnerable. And especially like, as a woman, I'm like, I don't want to get all like touchy feely on this conversation because of the stereotypes that women have. And so I was really cautious. And so we I went in, he came to the meeting, and I just sat down, and I hemmed in hawed for a really long time. And I was like, so set this meeting up, you know, I think I did small talk first, like, how's your week been? You know, all that stuff. And then finally, I just cut to the chase and said, you know, like, when you I understand that you're busy, I know, you're pulled in a lot of different directions. But when you don't let me know that you can't make it to a meeting, and I think you're coming and you don't show up. It makes me feel like I'm not worth your time. And I didn't even know I felt that way until I said it out loud. And I was like, wow, okay, that's that's the root of the problem. He accepted it very well explained to like kind of where he was coming from too I was able to see his perspective and empathize with some of the reasons behind the miscommunications and whatever and we had a good conversation, but I think right after that he was going out of town. For a client meeting or conference or something, he was gone for a week and a half, or something like that. And what in the day, first day he left, he had flowers sent to the office for me and said, I think I still have the card. But the card said something like, of course, you're worth my time. And that just like, first of all, he heard what I said and remembered what I said. And second of all, like made an effort to show me that he cared and that he heard my feedback and wanted to do something about it. So it ended up being a really good experience, but I was definitely nervous.

Jeff Ma
Thank you for sharing that.

Frank Danna
That's solid.

Jeff Ma
So there's a there's a clear theme here. And I want to break that open a little bit. Because feedback is this.. for me, personally, that I mean, not personally, sorry, before I get into that, there's two sides of feedback, right? There's giving feedback. There's receiving feedback. And it's interesting hearing your story with all three of your stories centered around having to give crucial feedback. It sounds like and correct me if I'm wrong, it sounds like that is like the the fear and the center of anxiety and kind of like the struggle. And it's funny because I personally, I struggle way more with receiving feedback. If someone says, I have feedback for you, I'm just like, I'm tense and like, if like, I think Lydia has done this to me before, she'll be like, Oh, I set up a meeting tomorrow to give you some feedback. I'm not sleeping that night. Like, like, it doesn't matter what it like, it ends up just being like, oh, here's like, it's like a tiny little thing. And it's not even negative. But I would message her like late night and be like, Lydia, can we just talk right now because whatever this is, is growing in my mind. And whatever it is, I'm making a lot of assumptions already. And I'm really introspecting hard on myself on what I did wrong to you. So I get really in my head about about feedback. But so I want to break out break apart these two halves, right when it comes to feedback. I want to start with what you guys are centered on. What makes it so hard like tangibly to give others feedback? You guys touched on in all your stories. Frank, can you kick us off? Like what is, what's so difficult? What's the hardest part about giving feedback?

Frank Danna
I mean, I'll say, Jeff, I recognize that usually when Mohammad says like, hey, Frank, I've got some feedback for you. I'm like, well, I'm gonna update my resume. I'm gonna make sure that LinkedIn is like leaned in, I'm like, I'm gone. I'm out. I'm out. Can you just tell me what it is right now. But when it comes to when it comes to why it's so things that are they're holding us back from giving feedback, a lot of it comes from fear. I mean, that to me is really the the reality, the fear of the response from the other individual. When you're when you're calling into question the capability of the person if they've let you down or done something in some way, like all of those things get inside of our heads, right? So you can also think about the people that you gave feedback to including myself, where your direct report like people that your bosses, right? For me, it was our CEO. For Lydia, it was your direct report. And for Maggie, it was VP like, we're giving feedback upwards to people in our organization, and what happens if that limits our career capacity in some way? Right. So I think that ultimately, though, that fear of the fear of giving people feedback comes from not having a relationship, not having the trust with the other person. And then there's this lack of lack of courage as a result of that all of those elements kind of fold in to making it incredibly challenging to actually give someone feedback.

Jeff Ma
Lydia, anything you'd add to that from your experience?

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
Yeah, I think sometimes for me, like you mentioned, as a project manager, it can be difficult, seeing someone that may be in a different level of the organization, right that for so much of my life I've been taught or seen that certain people in a certain tier, they may communicate with someone else. But for me like that example that I gave Jeff of going to you and saying, hey, you're you're my, my boss in this situation, but you're not doing this right. I think that can be more challenging. But taking that first step again, I know we're talking about the giving it but it opens a door for being able to receive it because as my, as a leader, you modeled that for me. So you were able to show me that, hey, when you just when you step into this and do this, then it's a lot easier, but just removing that mindset that we're all just people and we're all for one another. And so that means that I can be open and honest with you in conversation, because you are just another person who's imperfect just like I am.

Jeff Ma
Sure, and I can I can I can echo that. I'm sorry, Maggie. I can echo that Lydia, just like I feel like although you and I aren't caught crossing paths every day in the current roles and work we're doing, I definitely feel that that story you share from just a simple email way back has grown immensely, just through additional. I mean, we've given each other a lot of feedback along the way. And it's just this relationship that I really, really value. And I think it starts from our kind of mutual understanding that feedback will be present in every space that we share. And I really, I really echo that. I'm sorry, Maggie, I interrupted you. Go ahead.

Maggie McClurkin
That's okay. I was just gonna, something that came to mind about giving feedback as Lydia, I don't know if you experienced this as a project manager. But a lot of times a stakeholder or a client will give feedback to you, the project manager for someone else on the team. And sometimes that can be really tricky navigating, okay, how do I package this feedback to then pass along and now it's second hand, and, you know, within Softway's walls, we really try to avoid that, but you can't always control what a client is comfortable with or not comfortable with. And so it's, it's always a kind of a dance of like, Okay, do you need to be like, direct and just like tell them exactly what the client said? Or should you package it in a certain way that has them receive it a little bit better? You really have to think about it, you can't just like offhandedly send them a chat, because you need to think about who's receiving it and how they're going to take it and how they're going to perceive it. Because people people receive feedback differently. And so that that is always tricky to me having to do the middleman feedback stuff.

Jeff Ma
And to flip it over to receiving feedback, I think, yeah. Because that's where my mind is always when you say feedback. I'm assuming I'm getting it. And I think that there's there's also a fear on that side as well. Like, I think there's a fear and I think because both of these have this stigma of fear of giving and receiving it's just this process that's tainted in. It just feels like even in our stories. These were like, some of them were like one on ones and sit downs and like you got to look at each other and say right to your face, and it's just, it can be built up in concept as a very stressful confrontation. And I think that what I'd like to kind of move our conversation to now is how do we get how do we change that? How do we make it so that it's not so much this construct of, of stress and fear? You know, Frank, any ideas on where we start?

Frank Danna
Well, I mean, first of all, the way we're describing feedback is an event. Like it's dropped on a calendar, it's something important that has to be done. And when you make it an event, you're making it something that comes with a high level of stress and anxiety and baggage. And so what is needed in order to remove the event nature of feedback is building a culture of feedback, inside of an organization. That's ultimately what will end up making it stick is having an opportunity for people like Jeff, you and I, for example. We have a very unique way of giving each other feedback.

Jeff Ma
Some would say that we give each other too much feedback.

Frank Danna
It is it is real time every minute. But what's crazy about it is that we are brutally honest with each other, you will immediately call me out sometimes in front of other people, which is great, I actually really enjoy that. Because it holds me accountable. And at the same time, I'm willing to give you that same amount of feedback. And we as a as a personal relationship, have a culture of feedback, personally, right? But then how do you how do you expand that to an organization where all of us can kind of work within this culture of feedback so it doesn't feel like an event. It feels like part of the journey that you have with another person. Part of the relationship that you have with another person expected as part of the way you work with each other. That's really how to fix this problem of making feedback such a horrible thing. And also, when we say the word feedback, we almost automatically tune to it being negative. We don't even consider the opposite is true that the feedback could be positive. Usually, because we, you know, we don't phrase feedback in a positive sense as being feedback. But we're afraid of it. It's like built into our DNA to be fearful of it. But if you can build a culture of feedback, then it's not there's no fear. It's just part of it's par for the course.

Jeff Ma
Maggie or Lydia, do you guys agree? Do you guys have.. what is what how does that look like in your teams or your your interactions?

Maggie McClurkin
I was gonna say, Lydia, you should go.

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
All you girl producer taken away.

Maggie McClurkin
Oh, gosh. Okay. Um, So, yes, I agree with that, I think coming from a place that did not previous jobs I've had didn't have cultures of feedback. So coming here first felt very, very weird at first, and I, I will never forget the first time someone gave me feedback. And it wasn't even a big deal. It was something super small. And I was like, oh, this means I'm doing a terrible job. This means that everybody's talking about me behind my back. And it's it's this like, internal monologue that just starts going going on but, but as you kind of get used to like what Frank said, a culture of feedback, it becomes something that you almost crave. And something that you realize, if someone's giving you feedback, it means they actually are noticing you enough to provide that feedback. In a way it's a compliment. Because if someone didn't, didn't care about how well you're doing or just didn't even notice you, they wouldn't be able to give you any kind of feedback and so, that's kind of how I try to look at it. But also, if you are in a culture that doesn't, that doesn't have a culture of feedback, if you are currently in that position, I would say like, the best way to start is to ask people on your team or people above you for feedback. Start gathering your own feedback instead of I wouldn't say go around and start giving feedback to everybody on your team.

Frank Danna
Yeah, agreed. Not good.

Maggie McClurkin
That's not going to end well. But I think that it would be very, I think it would be received well, if you say, hey, what this is what Mohammad asks me every time we have a one on one is, what should I keep doing? What should I stop doing and what should I start doing? And those are three really easy questions to ask like anyone during a one on one to to find out how you're doing.

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
Yeah, I think those are really good points. And from my story, the example at the beginning, despite my fear and anxiety about sharing that feedback with Jeff, from the day that I started, he had already given me permission if you need to let me know what I'm doing wrong, like he welcomed that feedback from day one. And really set an expectation or a culture around feedback that even though I had this fear inside of me, I already knew that it was welcomed, already knew that he wanted it. And so his ability to where his openness to receive it gave me space to learn how to give it well. And I think that's really valuable in the culture of feedback, it's important to know you're not going to do it right the first time and there's not a right or wrong way, starting is the right way. Right, just trying and attempting and assuming good intent of whoever that you're communicating with knowing that you have the best for the other person. But I did want to touch a little bit about like, how you can do that if that's okay, because I think that really helps in the culture. Since that time, when I gave Jeff feedback, I've learned how to package it a little bit better. And one of the biggest realizations for me was that I was going in and saying these are all the places that you're missing this is what's not going is going well, as opposed to saying, this is what's happened now. So next time, this is how we can do it better together. And if you can kind of switch that communication style from this is what's wrong to this is how we can do better in the future, then it shows that you're really for the other person and you guys can walk in it. How do we do this together? Right? How can I support you in this? How can we work on our communication, it leads to a lot more community, a lot more points of open communication, as opposed to looking back and trying to correct something that you can't change anymore. So I think that's really helpful. And I've learned a lot in that area. It's made me more comfortable in giving feedback and receiving it for sure.

Frank Danna
Yeah, and that's really I'd say that when it comes to, you know, when it comes to how we perceive feedback, we've talked about the different types of people in our organization and you know, For me and Jeff, for instance, like we, we can wrap the feedback that we give each other. It doesn't have to be wrapped at all. It can just be like direct, it can just be like, here you go. Here's the feedback, because I, because Jeff knows me, and I know him well enough to know what works and what resonates. But the way we approach feedback inside of our organization is that it's a gift, right? So if we believe that feedback actually creates a benefit to you, because you're able to learn and grow, if you're if you're using a growth mindset, and you're like, thank you for that gift of feedback. But the problem is we wrap it in certain ways. And so if you're wrapping your feedback poorly, when you're delivering it to someone, it's not going to be well received. But if you recognize that, underneath that wrapping is the same gift of perspective. And that perspective is helping you become a better boss, a better leader, a better friend, a better mentor, a better colleague, then feedback isn't so scary, right? And so when it comes to feedback, being a gift, we have to understand that different people will experience unwrapping the gift in different ways. So that means that we have to be, we have to understand the people that we're presenting this feedback to. And even when people are giving us feedback, we also have to understand that when they're talking about it, when they're telling us something, try to have empathy for how they feel. Because if we've all talked about how afraid we are of giving people feedback, imagine how someone is feeling across from you, when they're giving you that feedback. How would they like for you to respond, you know? And so when you consider that both sides of the equation, you recognize the value of feedback being a gift of perspective, then it starts to make more sense as to why it's so vital for a healthy and inclusive culture.

Jeff Ma
That's like our unofficial Softway motto, right? Feedback is a gift. And it's something so hard to practice because again, it's hard when you have to give feedback. It's still feels like sometimes a gut punch when you get it. Sometimes it feels nerve racking when you have to give it. But But yeah, we, I personally, it has been really life changing for me to truly practice looking at feedback as a gift if you really care about someone and want them. It's not just about I need justice, like I need you to know that you did wrong. And you do like, you need to like think about that and sit in a corner. I think for me, it's like, no, if if I really want the people around me to improve and grow, I would want someone to tell me like I don't want to be blindly going forward doing what I do thinking I'm doing a great job. I need that perspective of growth. And I think that's such a compelling way to center our culture of feedback around.

Maggie McClurkin
And I think one one other thing, Jeff sorry, is and I don't want to go on too much of a tangent. So we could go on a whole podcast about this topic. But sometimes the benefit of feedback is honestly just getting it off your chest, to this person and I'm thinking specifically of that instance with Chris. Like there was nothing he could have done to change what happened in the past. And just the fact of me being able to tell him like that hurt my feelings helped us move on like that much quicker. Like I was harboring that. And I was feeling resentful and unforgiveness. And as soon as I was able to just say it and allow him to apologize, it's like, alright, cool. Like, I feel a million times better. Like, thanks for letting me get up, get that off my chest. Because I mean, some instances are different. Like you actually have to work through something and do something tactically. But things like that, where something happened in the past, and it just kind of rubbed you the wrong way or hurt your feelings. Like it's better to just say, hey, that hurt my feelings, because you will subconsciously or consciously hold on to that, and it will cause problems in the future.

Jeff Ma
I love that.

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
Yeah, one of the biggest things I keep here in all of this is that relationships are key, right? So feedback is a tool that can be used to help develop and cultivate relationships and make them stronger, but if we're truly approaching one another in love and a perspective of I care about you, and I'm for you, then feedback is the best way to go. That means you care about the person enough to be honest with them and open with them, that you can communicate to that, that to them. Because like I said, Jeff and I when I initially had this huge moment, we didn't have a strong relationship, we were getting to know one another. And I would say it accelerated our ability to relate and work together. Because we both we both made a choice. It wasn't just me stepping out and saying, look, I have feedback to give you it was his willingness to respond and say, let's talk about it. And y'all Jeff actually called me while I was on that vacation, and we talked for two hours, and we got to know one another. And we talked through the feedback and all of those things. And so it's cultivated a relationship for us that we wouldn't have had. And it has shown me that we have love for one another right that we care for one another as people and we truly believe and desire. that the other person can continue to grow and be better. I think that can be the most important thing.

Jeff Ma
Yeah, and I think you're tying it perfectly back to love. I love what you're saying here. And obviously I reciprocate what you're saying about me personally. So I'm kind of blushing a little bit. But the reality is, we're talking about business as well. Right? So tying it back to love and business. You know, getting what I need to get done from a work perspective is so easy with the three of you and many others here. Because I know that if, if I screw up, I'll be called out and it's okay. And if if any of you screw up, I can just get it get it out in the open and move on and that that love that you're talking about translates to, you know, business outcomes every time like we're not stuck in this kind of like either like a Maggie was saying feelings or getting stuck in those, that that that stress of that and we're not stuck in, you know, not moving forward and progress like in Frank's story like a meeting stalling out. We're able to move past these things that I think a lot of other, you know, you know, it's very common for other people to have many, many stories of just where, without feedback, actively being part of the culture, you're losing daylight, you're losing productive time, days, weeks, months of teams, you know, doing the wrong things not getting the outcomes you're looking for. And so that's where I wanted to tie I want I really want to tie that back to kind of why we're here talking about it, right. Love as a business strategy, to me, when I think of love, it's come in the form of... But I mean, I'm thinking about this right now. Like I'm thinking back to all the times I can really feel like I have a love for someone I work with. It can be traced back to these moments of feedback that we're able to give each other over time. So I think that one of the things that we should do, and sorry for the listeners out there, if you're looking if you're finding an interest in like this topic and really wanting to look deeper, because feedback can be a very surface level topic as well. It can just be like, yeah, I'm guilty of it as a leader saying, I, I'm open to feedback, I've just give it to me, but then actually practicing it is a very different thing. We actually will be holding, Softway, will be holding a interactive workshop on feedback on September 10. And so it's not a webinar. It's not a, you know, a one sided thing. It's actually a very interactive, we're going to break into groups. I'll be there, Frank. I mean, a lot, the podcast hosts will be there, we're going to engage. And we're going to actually try and experiment with some ways to actually really open up about feedback. So I'm really excited about that. And we'll put in the show notes, some details about that event for anyone interested. And I'd like to thank everybody for joining me today. It was a really, really heartwarming discussion. Frank, Maggie, Lydia, I really appreciate you guys taking the time to talk about feedback today.

Lydia Hutchings Bardin
Thanks for having me.

Maggie McClurkin
Yeah, thank you.

Frank Danna
Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff Ma
Yep, We post new episodes every Tuesday, here at love as a business strategy. If there's a topic that you'd like to cover anything you want to give us feedback on, by the way, we'd love it. Let us know at Softway.com/LAABS. And if you liked anything you heard today, please leave a review. Leave us that feedback. And also subscribe on Apple and Spotify, it means a lot to us. And with that, I will sign off and I'll see you all next week. Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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