Is Your Feedback a Gift Card?

We often use the expression “All feedback is a gift.” During this holiday season it occurred to me that in fact, feedback is a gift card. A recent study estimated that if you don’t use a gift card within two weeks of receipt, there’s only a 20% chance that you will ever use it. Some cards even have an expiry date.

So are you in the two week “zone”? Or is the feedback you received still sitting in a drawer somewhere?

Most of us are engaged in setting goals, especially at this time of year. So how can you use feedback you’ve received and ensure it is reflected in your personal learning plans for 2011?

Here are 5 tips for spending your gift card:

1. Review all your feedback.
Consider what you’ve received in the last 3-6 months, including 360s, internal and external surveys, coaching from your boss and any informal feedback. Determine the themes and patterns. What is your feedback saying about how you need to grow?

2. Determine what resonates with you.
If you’ve had the same feedback three times, it is time to pay attention. For feedback that you don’t agree with, do some fact-finding. Make sure that gift card isn’t counterfeit.

3. Establish your learning goals.
Decide what you want to learn, how you’ll get there, when you’ll know you’ve been successful and your timing. Write this down and post it in a visible spot.

4. Communicate your goals.
Let your boss and others know so they can give you kudos for your progress.

5. Keep your eye on your gift card’s balance.
Take advantage of all the feedback you’ve been given. Try to spend it all.

Make sure you use your entire gift card. In 6 months when you review your personal learning plans, you’ll have an amazing sense of accomplishment.

All feedback is a gift!