Earlier this week I received some fabulous pushback on a project I am working on. I had got to a place where I thought it was pretty good – and ready go to production.

I had received some very positive feedback from a number of stakeholders so had confidence.

Then one key stakeholder landed a real punch.

He called out a number of issues that I had missed and the others would not have known to look for.

I was deflated. Frustrated too because he (of course!) called out problems not solutions.

But I got over myself and spent a day of hard thinking on it and addressed his concerns.

Guess what?

I LOVE where it is going now. A massive step up for two important areas of the work that feed into others.

It is more insightful
It is more cohesive
It is more useful

So … Do you open yourself to challenge? Do you go there by offering it to others?

Go on. Be brave. It's the right kind of hard.

Here are four specific thoughts on how to receive input from others:

  1. Ask for advice, not feedback. I know I cringe when someone says they have feedback for me. I have to check myself to remember this is a good thing. Somehow advice is easier to accept.  
  2. Ask permission before offering ideas or suggestionsAgain, this is about tone and avoiding getting your colleague offside before engaging in tricky conversations.
  3. Always seek peer reviews of your one-page storylines before preparing important documents. I cannot tell you how often someone else has seen things I plain missed.
  4. Try ‘how about this' language. Instead of launching in to explain an error, try and step past that to say ‘what if we did it this way?' or ‘how about we do that'? In showing a potential solution your colleague will see their mistake without having to be told.

I hope that helps. More next week.

Kind regards,

PS – In the spirit of bravery, I am now working on ANOTHER new project and would love your thoughts.

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