Thought of the Day – Wanted: Better Feedback

Last week I started watching a show that combines a few of my favorite things: Michigan Wolverine Football, good leadership, and a resounding analogy for agility.  There is a show on Amazon Prime called “All or Nothing: Michigan Wolverines.”  The show centers around the lives of Jim Harbaugh (Head Coach), a group of the players, and their journey during the 2017 season.

As one of episodes was playing out, I noticed something that is a good analogy for how (and more importantly when) our teams receive feedback.  After each offensive series, the quarterback (Speight), would get on the phone with the offensive coordinator (OC) that sits in the box high above the field.  The OC has several duties – play calling, time/clock management, and recognizing how the defense is lining up and making adjustments.  The OC and Speight’s conversations talked briefly about the last set of plays, what worked well and what didn’t, how they would adjust the team to take advantage of the defense, what kind of changes they would make to the next set of plays, but more importantly how the quarterback would keep the team cohesive.  This conversation seemed to take all of 3-5 minutes (30 seconds with TV magic).

Now, feel free to draw whatever analogies you want to team members and your favorite “framework” but the point is that we often have teams look for feedback on what they do, how they do it, and why it is important WAY TOO LATE.  I am all for cadenced retros, but I also think that this is like waiting until the end of the game to figure out what changes need to be made.  This can be detrimental by creating waste and diminishing the effectiveness of the teams!

In all of this, I was thinking of how our daily sessions tend to become more along the lines of status meetings and daily briefings by the project manager.  We’ve talked about how these need to be times for the team to make sure they have a plan for the day, but often we tell people – who have a better view of the entire field – to not say anything.  Why not bring them into the conversation, make sure it still meets your team working agreement, but also consume that valuable feedback that can improve the team performance!

Just a daily thought.

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