Everybody loves positive feedback.
But, sometimes, positive isn’t necessarily honest. Or it’s honest, by simply dodging the real issues.
Q: How did I do on my project?
A: Have you been working out? You look great!
Lifehacker points us (“Learn the truth about yourself by conducting an online survey“) to one potential answer: an insightful post by Roman Rytov, guiding us on how to solicit honest feedback.
(English isn’t Roman’s first language (although he generally uses it better than I do), so you may have to re-read some of the stuff. But genius, my friends, knows no language.)
Roman provides a number of good tips for getting at that honest feedback, like using an online survey tool to gather the feedback. (That sounds interesting!) And allowing people to respond anonymously.
My paraphrase of his invaluable tips:
- Keep it short.
- Allow anonymous responses.
- Only ask applicable questions.
- Only ask people you know.
- Only ask questions that predicate action.
- Restrict answers to quantitative responses.
- Set a deadline for responses.
- Track who responds and who doesn’t.
- Take the responses to heart.
And, of course, the one unspoken tip to be inferred from this guidance: take responsibility for your own reviews. The topic about which I rant, again and again and again.
But don’t take my word for it. (Or my synopsis, for that matter.) Read Roman’s entire post, entitled “How to find [inconvenient] truth about youself?“
I couldn’t agree more and am excited to use (and have people see) Kumquat, the tool you posted about earlier. It makes soliciting honest feedback really easy and you can gather it anonymously so others feel safe to tell you the “tough stuff” that can be hard to hear, but ultimately is the most important to listen to and use as a basis for positive change.
Hopefully, people will want to see Kumquat, he says crossing his fingers. But even if they don’t, I agree, we’ll get a lot of use out of it.
In fact, I’m working on a project right now for which I wish I could use it. Oh well.
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