Brown Bag Lunch


Feedback Goes Both Ways

Should I break for lunch – or do 360 Feedback for my boss first? It’s supposed take 30 minutes, but I think I can whip through it in 10. He is a good guy overall, so I will just mark all 4’s on the scale of 1-5 because that will be quicker. 

But I want to get my message through that I am not a fan of his new “mandatory attendance” policy for weekly meetings. Oh, got it! I will show that in the derailer’s section under micromanaging. Great! I finished in 9 minutes, just in time to meet Ryan for lunch. 

What if everyone on the team subscribes to this same approach for 360 Feedback?  What message does the leader receive about micromanaging? Does the leader get the message that his team does not like required weekly meetings? Do they not like meeting together? Is it something within the meeting structure they are unhappy with? 

Or do they simply dislike being told it is mandatory?  

Likely, you have been on both sides of the table as well. With limited time already, you are asked to take 30 minutes to provide thoughtful feedback. These numerical assessments will be the focus of discussion and deciphering for weeks afterward.  Perhaps you will be asked by multiple employees to participate in their 360 assessments. Then, there are your assessment results as well.

As a coach, I know the value of 360 is in being able to see yourself through the eyes of others in your workplace. While we focus on our intent, our colleagues experience our impact. This is why I have moved away from anonymous numerical assessments in my own practice to Shift Positive 360®, which is rich in dialogue. Focused on what the leader can shift in the future to be more successful, and on how others around the leader can support the change. It essentially allows me to coach stakeholders – leaders and employees.  

What does the comment of not liking mandatory meetings actually mean? Perhaps shifting to monthly rather than weekly meetings works better.  Or rather than labeling it as mandatory, saying that all who are available should attend.  Raising awareness that “yes, a meeting is going to be needed” for the team to be able to execute properly.  I find these spot-on actions within dialogue, not within a scale of 1 to 5.

For leaders and employees, there is a power and completeness in knowing what to change and how to align the team. We cannot recreate a better past on a 1-5 scale. Why not do that with the best Shift Positive 360® feedback possible?

The World Is Evolving


Thoughts While Changing

Change.  We change our shoes, change our hair, change our approach, change our job and sometimes even change our spouse. Change is a reality of our life. The pace of change is simply getting faster and faster.  With all this change, we should find it easy to change our behavior.  


Behavior change is some of toughest work coaches do with clients. While the process starts with building awareness, there are many twists and turns for client and coach to arrive at the golden destination of sustainable change. Can positive long-term change happen? Of course.

The change we experience is often a result of inner shifts in mindset, values, or habits. Not a light switch but a process. A process that is running in the system of our natural work environment.  

Marshall Goldsmith is a renowned executive coach and author. It is no great surprise that studies by Goldsmith state “Development of leaders is a contact sport, not a closet sport.” Lasting change is most successful when the client’s people system is part of the process. “People system” equals the client’s natural work team.

There must be space in the system for the client to change, as taking on a new behavior requires the system to change as well. And team members in the client’s system will need to accept and support the change for it to last.  

This is where classical 360 tools fail us. Feedback is delivered, often without context, and it is up to the client to decipher the whole story and change quietly. On the other hand, this is what I love about using the Shift Positive 360 with clients. 

The process engages the client’s people system both to identify specific behaviors they want to see more of and individual’s commitments to take an active role in supporting the client to make lasting change. Change happens from the client, but can only last if nurtured and accepted in the system.

This is a unique approach to conducting leadership 360s where the leader not only gets a true narrative picture of strengths and areas for improvement, but also gets a commitment of support towards positive growth from key stakeholders. Happy to share more – just reach out!

Rethinking Feedback Processes


Feedback Really Can Be a Gift

“Do you have a minute, I’d like to give you some feedback?”

The phrase that strikes fear in a professional’s heart. As your mind races you wonder silently, is this good or bad?  

Feedback crept into workplace vocabulary after World War II and was used in talking about performance management, specifically corrective action. Research by Stone & Heen gives us current insight into feedback from both sides of the desk. 

Fifty-one percent of workers said their performance review was unfair or inaccurate. Twenty-five percent dread their performance review more than anything else at work. Sixty-three percent of executives said their biggest challenge in performance management is that managers lack the courage and ability to deliver challenging feedback.

Stone & Heen have captured the spirit of both workers and managers by summing it all up. “Is it possible that feedback is like a gift and like a colonoscopy? We are torn.”

Ultimately, the receiver is in control of what feedback they believe, and what they take action on. Receivers are prone to discount feedback they view as wrong or unhelpful, can’t accept from the giver, or that threatens their identity.  This can present a pretty large canvas of feedback that is not being considered by the receiver. We are simply wired to protect ourselves.

Is it possible to step over this mess?

Marshall Goldsmith turned this notion of feedback upside down by recognizing that successful leaders are energized by understanding how they can be MORE successful in the FUTURE. It is too late to recreate a better past. Right now, in this moment, we have the opportunity to create a better future. What can you do more of – or do differently in the future – to be more successful? That positive vision of the future is inspiring. It draws us in, it is an invitation for positive change.

As a coach, I work with leaders to access their feed forward through the Shift Positive 360® process. I am always amazed at the flame that ignites each time I talk with leaders about their ability to be more successful in the future, and concrete steps they can take to do so. Learn from the past, be inspired by a more successful future, and the knowledge of how to get there. Energizing and truly a gift!

Stone, D. & Heen, S (2014) Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well
Goldsmith, M. (2007) What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Bouncing Back

Bounce Back Stronger from Adversity:
Building Resilience in Yourself and Your Team

Life has challenges for individuals, as well as for organizations. But what separates those who are successful from those who crash and burn, or merely weather the storm?

The ability to bounce back.

We’ve all marveled at the ability to recover from – or adjust to – misfortune or change.  The ability of our heroes to prevail in the face of adversity. Resilience, our ability to bounce back, is a dynamic capacity in individuals and organizations that can grow and develop over time. While we all have some natural ability to bounce back from failure and hardship, we can all boost our ability to be more resilient and grow from our challenges.  

Learn what new research in Positive Psychology is telling us about:

  • Why some people are just naturally resilient
  • How you can be resilient, too
  • How your team can be more resilient

The ability to bounce back is what makes us more successful in business, and in our lives overall.