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Giving Critical Performance Feedback

Giving Critical Performance Feedback
There are certainly times during our feedback process where the messages being delivered are difficult. They can be ones that are so difficult it might end up eventually having the person who’s getting the feedback have to leave the company, either by their own choice or the choice of the team. What we try and encourage people to do in these feedback sessions is to think about some fundamental things. Number one, is the message I’m giving that person the truth?
Can that truth be delivered in a way that’s helpful rather than hurtful? And so all the truths we’re expressing, we’re trying to do and we’re not perfect at any of this, we’re always practicing on this. But can I deliver this in a way that you could actually grow from rather than simply deliver some message that’s gonna be leaving you in fear after the session, and quite frankly, is the truth necessary? Is this particular truth important enough to bring up in something like this? Now those are the broad sort of aspirational goals for these feedback lunches, but we’re all human.
We fall short in these ways, and quite frankly, you are learning every step of the way because you’re on both sides of this equation as we go forward. Everybody gets a chance to practice this. Everybody’s coming to these feedback lunches at one time or another and they will be on either side of the equation. Quite frankly, the way you learn to give better feedback is to see how it felt when you got feedback that might have been a little less than stellar from your peers. And I think this is probably as close to the lifetime journey of every individual at Menlo as how to get better and better and better at doing this.
And we have to assume everybody’s gonna do it poorly at first and every time we try this we, both individually and as a team, are gonna get better and better at it. And sometimes, it doesn’t go well. Sometimes we struggle with how to deliver this. Sometimes we have to apologize later for something we said. We try and keep ourselves humble enough to realize that if we made somebody cry or we made somebody feel bad about something that we probably didn’t deliver on those earlier three aspirational goals of the feedback lunch.
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