December 9, 2016
Last week, the Ponies sat in on a learning session conducted by members of our senior team about Fast Horse’s way of client service — a method full of head, heart and hustle that Fast Horse prioritizes with each and every project we take on.
During the presentation, we got into a discussion about feedback and the importance of open communication, both internally and externally. This got me to thinking about my own experiences giving and receiving feedback within a professional setting, which I think most people would agree is an intimidating practice. A lot of what I know about providing feedback I learned within the leadership minor at my alma mater.
In my opinion, one of the most important things I learned was about “coming in right.” This concept strongly relates to the head, heart and hustle we Ponies strive to put into each client relationship we have. To come in right first and foremost means to be present — to really listen and hear any comments or concerns, but to also be able to step outside of our own lens and understand the other’s perspective, leading us to better anticipate any future questions. It means to be curious and act with purpose and understanding.
In the minor I also had learned how to encompass this concept into creating effective and constructive feedback. For example, strong feedback should be within reach and specific to the project. Having an understanding of the project in full can help strengthen your understanding of what is most relevant and attainable in terms of providing constructive feedback. In this sense, the feedback should also be goal-oriented.
This is where purpose comes in. Feedback can be more useful when combined with a proposed action, which provides more context to all parties involved and provides a path moving forward. Lastly, feedback does not always have to be about providing constructive, alternative options; it can also be about showing admiration and praise. This is equally important in terms of showing an understanding of the work that is put into each project.
Apart from acknowledging all of these key lessons, the best way to nail down feedback is through experience. We can all learn from colleagues more experience and grow from their insights and advice. In fact, feedback does not have to be an individual activity. As we learned in our client-service presentation, consulting with one another is another great way to come in right and create both a stronger relationship and a more directed path moving forward.
In all, the presentation provided me with a great opportunity to reflect on how my previous experiences are relevant to my current work, and how I can better initiate my learnings the Fast Horse way — with head, heart and hustle.