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matrix vision newsletter
Feedback Issue
May, 2009 - Vol 2, Issue 5
In This Issue
Giving and Receiving Feedback
Tips on Giving Feedback
Surveys for Small Business
*NEW* Survey Software
Quick Links
Join Mailing List
Story of the Month
This story is an 'alleged' transcript of an actual radio conversation between a US naval ship and Canadian maritime contact off the coast of Newfoundland in October 1995.
Americans: Please divert your course 15 degrees North to avoid a collision.
Canadians: Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees South to avoid collision.
Americans: This is the captain of a US navy ship; I say again divert your course.
Canadians: No. I say again, you divert YOUR course.
Canadians: We are a lighthouse; your call.

Feedback Quotes
"No organisational action has more power for motivating employee behaviour change than feedback from credible work associates."

Mark R Edwards
"Champions know that success is inevitable; that there is no such thing as failure, only feedback. They know that the best way to forecast the future is to create it" 
Michael J Gelb
"Feedback is the breakfast of champions." 
Ken Blanchard
"Telling someone the truth is a loving act."
Author Unknown
"Once you embrace unpleasant news, not as a negative but as evidence of a need for change, you aren't defeated by it. You're learning from it." 
Bill Gates

"One of the surest evidences of friendship that one individual can display to another is telling him gently of a fault. If any other can excel it, it is listening to such a disclosure with gratitude, and amending the error."
Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton  
"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger."
Franklin P. Jones
"Find someone who is willing to share the truth with you."
Jim Rohn
"The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism."

Norman Vincent Peale
"When you confront a problem you begin to solve it."

Rudy Giuliani
"What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Answer: feedback. Don't forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication."

Author Unknown

Welcome to the matrix vision newsletter for May.  This month's newsletter is focussed on Giving and Receiving Feedback.  The message this month is about the importance of using feedback to improve your business effectiveness.
This newsletter presents reasons why feedback is an essential tool for organisational effectiveness.  We provide some tips and tools on how to do it well.  We have articles including:
  • the connection between quality and feedback,
  • the importance of using feedback in all aspects of our business,
  • the value of 360 degree feedback,
  • "critique" in organisations"
  • plenty of tips for giving and receiving feedback and
  • the exciting brand new "Surveys for Small Business" software

Enjoy your reading and as always your feedback would be welcome!

If any of the information interests you and if you would like to find out how it can help you please contact us.  We would love to talk with you.
PDCA Cycle
Demings' Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle has influenced successful quality improvement of business processes since the 1950's. This process has enabled the delivery of consistent, quality products to customers.
Basically the PDCA model represents the way to build continuous improvement through the four steps.
  • PLAN: Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output.
  • DO: Implement the new processes. Often on a small scale if possible.
  • CHECK: Measure the new processes and compare the results against the expected results to identify any differences.
  • ACT: Decide on changes needed to improve the process.

The CHECK step is the feedback process.  Feedback is crucially important for the achievement of quality and continuous improvement.  Without the process of feedback we wil not know how we are going against what we think is important. 

We need feedback to help us monitor the progress of the implementation of our business plans. 
We need to get feedback from our customers to keep us on track in delivering the products and services they would like to buy. 
We seek feedback from our suppliers to look at ways in which we can improve our relationship with them so that we can improve the way in which we deliver to the customer. 
We ask for feedback from our employees to determine whether we "practice what we preach" and are creating the kind of environment that will lead to better performance.
We need to get feedback from our co-workers, from those we work closely with to identify ways in which we can become better managers or to explore ways to build stronger teams.  

Human beings thrive on Feedback 
We often don't see ourselves as others see us.  For this reason, we sometimes don't understand the impact our actions have on others. We have "blind spots." For example, we don't always know when our work is appreciated, and we aren't always sure when we're causing problems.  Even though we are well intentioned and hard-working people we tend to rely on ingrained patterns for success.  Because we aren't always conscious of what others perceive, we may be the only ones who don't know that we're adversely affecting the performance of our group.
Feedback is essential to learning.  If people don't fully appreciate their strengths, how can they use them to their advantage?  If they aren't sure how their actions create problems, how will they know what to change, and will they have the motivation to improve?
The challenge.  As valuable and as desirable as it is, constructive feedback is not a regular occurrence in most workplaces. The most common reasons:
  • People usually find it uncomfortable to confront each other about performance issues.
  • Most people aren't sure how to give feedback effectively.
  • Very few people like accepting negative feedback.  
One person's feedback is rarely enough to convince most people.  Whether the message is about strengths or areas for improvement, the feedback recipient often wonders whether one person's opinion is valid.
Typically, in the workplace we rely on the supervisor to give feedback to a direct report. The problem is that most bosses are not in the best position to observe day-to-day behaviour and few managers are skilled at giving constructive feedback. 

Peers, coworkers, direct reports and customers usually have more detailed information about how employees do their jobs. Furthermore, these people care deeply about performance issues, because when coworkers don't do their jobs, it affects their work. 
Thats why many companies today use 360-degree feedback.
360 degree feedback, otherwise known as multi source feedback, is a comprehensive and structured way to obtain feedback from a range of others.  Feedback is sought from different sources, like self, manager, peers, staff, customers or any other relevant group.
The purpose of the process is to understand how others perceive you.  Feedback is anonymous and confidential apart from the manager's perceptions.  360 degree feedback provides a mirror into other people's perceptions and endeavours to answer the questions:

"How do others see you? ... and ... How do you impact upon their performance?"

Because of its structure, thoroughness and anonymity, 360 degree feedback is much easier to analyse, believe and use than single-source feedback.  
To learn how we can help you implement 360 degree feedback that can enable you and your team members to understand the answers to the questions above CLICK HERE

In last months newsletter we introduced the concept of 'critique" which has been the foundation of many successful organisations.  Here is an excerpt from Blake & Mouton's book "Making Experience Work". 
A good climate for learning from critique has been described as depending upon explicit norms for creating an open sharing of agreement about the purposes to be achieved, creating and maintaining a problem-solving rather than a win/lose environment, inviting confrontational feedback, and making it legitimate to express feelings and emotions.
By making the best use of critique as part of their problem-solving and decision-making processes, organisations can gain several advantages. With critique, actions are likely to be sounder because they are taken only after reservations and doubts have been identified and answered or resolved.
Members feel more involvement and commitment after critique because they have had a chance to understand and contribute. The side effects of proposed actions can be avoided through critique because they are more likely to be identified in advance or along the way.
By practicing critique in one situation, each member is more likely to be able to make effective use of it for learning in other situations, in other places, with other people.

To find out more about "critique" give us a call CONTACT US 
Giving and Receiving Feedback
Characteristics of Effective Feedback:
  • Is clear and specific
  • Focuses on behaviour, not the person
  • Does not make judgement or generalisations
  • Should be frequent and consistent
  • Is given as soon as possible after the event
  • Is immediate (as long as you have all the facts)
  • Focuses on where performance can be improved rather than what is unacceptable
  • Recognises accomplishments and keeps the person motivated
  • Takes a problem solving approach where both parties constructively tackle an issue
  • Is balanced - what they do well and what they can improve
  • Is helpful and offered in a positive tone, not one of pitying, blaming or accusing
  • Describes actions or behaviours that the individual can address.

Giving Effective Feedback - DOs and DONT'S

  • Describe the behaviour, not the person
  • Be specific, not general
  • Make it relevant and in context
  • Own the feedback say "I feel", "I think", "in MY opinion"
  • Speak for yourself only and restrict your feedback to things you know for certain
  • Choose an appropriate time and place
  • Your only motive should be to be helpful
  • Focus on recent behaviour- don't get hung up on the past
  • Check with the other person that they have understood your feedback and taken it in the way you intended 
  • use absolutes, for example, "always", "never"
  • read into a person's behaviour and provide reasons based on what you think they are
  • psychoanalyse
  • give feedback for some reason other than helping the other person learn and improve
  • use labels
  • judge or be judgmental
  • give feedback about something the person cannot influence or change
  • exaggerate
  • overload the other person by giving them too much information
6 Steps for Giving Constructive Feedback
  1. State the constructive purpose of your feedback.
  2. Describe specifically what you have observed.
  3. Describe your reactions.
  4. Give the other person an opportunity to respond.
  5. Offer specific suggestions.
  6. Summarise and express your support.
 Jack Zenger - Giving Constructive Feedback


Pitfalls when Giving Feedback
Confusing feedback with "getting it off your chest."
Getting it off your ChestPunishing or "dumping" your angry feelings on another person is not providing feedback. Angry feedback is useless or even harmful because the other person feels attacked and will not be open to receiving your message.
This is not to say that getting your feelings off your chest is not important.  However; you'll get better results if you release your anger in whatever way works best for you before talking with the person.
One possibility is to let some time pass. Another option would be to talk out your feelings with an uninvolved, objective third party before saying anything to the involved person. To avoid this pitfall, don't give feedback when you're angry or upset.
Poor timing.
In addition to making sure that you are in the best frame of mind to give feedback, choose a time when the other person is likely to be most receptive to what you have to say. This should be when the other person has few distractions or pressures and can listen and respond constructively. Bad times would be:
  • when the other person is very busy
  • when other people are around
  • when the person is tired or upset
  • when it's too late for them to take corrective action

Jack Zenger - Giving Constructive Feedback


Receiving Feedback Effectively
  • Listen to understand and suspend any judgement;
  • Accept and discuss the feedback
  • Allow the person to say what they need to say and listen carefully and attentively without interruption;
  • If the feedback is factually incorrect, explain the situation calmly and objectively;
  • If the feedback is not constructive, ask for positive suggestions on how you might change your approach;
  • Identify issues that may impact on future performance;
  • Ask for help, training or resources if required;
  • If there is no feedback ask for it;  ie what am I doing well and what can I improve;
  • Ask open questions;
  • Be open to employee feedback;
  • Avoid becoming defensive and over-reacting;
  • Take note of any questions or disagreements;
  • Restate what you think you hear;
  • Ask questions to clarify and restate again;
  • Ask for examples and restate again;
  • Acknowledge valid points;
  • Acknowledge and thank them for the feedback;
  • Take time to understand and sort out what you have heard;
  • Gather more information from other sources and/or by observing your own behaviour and reactions to it;
  • When appropriate modify your behaviour and evaluate the outcome

If you want help with building the skills of giving and receiving feedback please give us a call.   CLICK HERE

Tips on Giving Feedback
   20 Tips for Giving Feedback
20 Tips on Giving Feedback
People are still very troubled by giving feedback to others.
So here are 20 steps to consider:
  1. Feedback needs to be about work performance - so it can be something the person does or says that affects the quality of their work or yours, or customer service, or delivery time etc.
  2. Communicate directly to the person. Don't start chatting with friends and other colleagues, leaving the person in the dark and out of the loop - and being talked about behind their backs.
  3. Do it ASAP. Do it within 24 hours - don't wait and then later decide not to give feedback at all!
  4. Choose a private place, go and have a coffee together or at the very least be out of earshot. There is no need to be over formal and book a meeting room.
  5. Remember to be balanced and fair, and give some positive feedback as well.
  6. Accept some of the responsibility - it makes it easier for them to accept the feedback. Such as "maybe I didn't explain this up front... maybe we didn't give your sufficient training.. maybe the deadline was unrealistic - for which I apologise".
  7. Show respect and carefully choose your words - delivered in a calm and caring way.
  8. Be specific - explain the exact behaviour and give examples of when/what you have observed.
  9. Explain why it is a problem and if possible link to standards or your pre-agreed contract for the way in which you work, or the team ground rules.
  10. Ask and listen - hear their view and don't pre-judge.
  11. Be understanding - open and empathic.
  12. Agree on issues - ensure you both agree. If there is disagreement then make sure you give facts and examples. And if the person agrees with the facts but disagrees that it is a problem, then provide the consequences. For example, they agree the meetings they run go way over the allotted time but they disagree it is a problem because they say what is covered is so important. You say it is a problem because everyone has other scheduled activities that they are then late for.
  13. Solve the problem - ask the other person for suggestions. It helps for them to take some responsibility. If they don't have any reasonable suggestions then suggest a solution or new process or behaviour.
  14. Use silence - don't do all the talking, which too often happens!
  15. Ask for feedback yourself - it's always a good opportunity to make sure the whole process is two way.
  16. Offer a self-disclosure if relevant - your challenges and difficulties when confronted by similar situations can make the other person feel relieved, relaxed and you become more human.
  17. Offer support - be as helpful as you can, now and for the future.
  18. Be persistent - you may need to give feedback on the same issue more than once.
  19. Follow-up - agree on a review date and make sure it happens.
  20. Help others be responsible - when someone comes and complains to you about someone else, encourage them to go directly to that person and give feedback professionally.
Eve Ash, psychologist and Managing Director, Seven Dimensions

Surveys for Small Business
20/20 Logo 
Matrix Vision is a value added reseller and a user of the most powerful and versatile feedback software tool available today.
People need an efficient, confidential and anonymous vehicle for giving feedback to each other. State-of-the-art software can simplify the process of collecting multi-source (360) feedback for anyone in your organisation.
20/20 Insight GOLD is the world's most versatile feedback tool. With this system, we can set up surveys to collect virtually any type of feedback-ideas, opinions, impressions, ratings - from any number of people about the performance of an individual, a team or even your organisation as a whole.organisation.
Surveys for Small Business
Downloadable software that lets you customise and administer online surveys
It's powered by exactly the same engine that drives 20/20 Insight GOLD, the enterprise-level survey system used by large organisations worldwide, including hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies. 20/20 Insight GOLD has been a simple, flexible, and affordable solution for gathering feedback about individuals, teams or the entire company for more than 15 years, serving millions of people in the workplace.
Surveys for Small Business is a NEW special version of this powerful software to meet the needs of your business--at about one-tenth the cost of the enterprise version.
Why you'll love using Surveys for Small Business...
  • Quickly select one of the stock surveys designed for small business
  • Tailor the survey questions to exactly fit your needs
  • Save your own surveys to a Survey Library
  • Get anonymous comments and ratings
  • Create special groups of respondents--so you can interpret the data
  • Broadcast the survey online to an unlimited number of respondents
  • Select report formats to display custom survey results
The process is so simple, you or an assistant can set up a customized customer opinion survey and notify all your customers in less than ten minutes. If you outsourced such a project, it could take weeks and cost you thousands of dollars. Once you've purchased Surveys for Small Business, your cost for the entire project from start to finish is a lot less than $100.

To get your free e-book "Reading Hearts and Minds" and to find out more about Surveys for Small Business  CLICK HERE
To learn more about the power of 20/20 Insight Gold click on the image.

20/20 Logo 

To talk with us about how you can use feedback to help you business improve, please contact us 


NEW    NEW   Surveys for Small Business   NEW    NEW

Surveys for Small BusinessSurveys for Small Business Software 
If you aren't sure what your CUSTOMERS WANT, you'll never be able to give it to them. And they'll give their money to somebody else.
If you don't understand your EMPLOYEES, you'll never get them to work together as a team.
There is now available a customisable survey tool that makes it easy for you to find out what your customers and employees need. The Surveys for Small Business software, powered by 20/20 Insight GOLD technology, gives you a cost-effective way to discover information critical to your business success. The software comes pre-loaded with surveys for employee opinion, customer satisfaction and individual performance.
Reading Hearts and Minds
To find out how you can be one of the first to get this amazing tool at an incredible special price and to download your free e-book "Reading Hearts and Minds" CLICK HERE
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Next month the theme of the newsletter will be "Managing Performance".
All the Best,
Barry Signature
Barry McMaster
Matrix Vision Pty Limited