The Sherlock Feedback System
Recently, one of my clients asked me how to handle one of his board members who aspires to lead but is lacking in some key areas.
So here’s a model for giving feedback. It’s a reversal of what I call Sherlock’s Simple Questions, and I’m calling it the Sherlock Feedback System. Just as Sherlock’s simple questions number four, this feedback system has four parts. Here they are.
1. Here’s what you are already doing that you can do better.
2. Here’s what you are not doing that you can be doing.
3. Here’s what you are doing that you must stop doing.
4. Here’s the evidence I’m looking and listening for that tells me you have done or not done these things.
Organize yourself around these four items and you can give feedback to anyone in a productive way.
If you seek to lead or serve others (often the same thing) then turn it around and ask for feedback along these lines as well. That’s what I call Sherlock’s Simple Questions.
1. What am I doing already that I can do better?
2. What am I not doing that I ought to be doing?
3. What am I doing that I ought not be doing?
4. How would you know if I was or wasn’t doing these things?
The fourth question is the evidence question, and it’s powerful because it adds perception to what you do. Fact is, you could already be doing or not doing what someone tells you to do or not do. But once that person gives you the evidence they are looking or listening for, it points to where you can make something more evident!!
However, before you give someone feedback, you must make sure they have given you the green light. ‘Are you sure you want me to be absolutely direct with you?’ or ‘Do you want me to be direct with you?’ Or ‘Do you want me to tell you how I think you can improve your chances of success?’ Such staging is essential. You can say and do so much more with permission and agreement than you can do without.
Rick is a best selling author and the founder of the Art of Change Skills for Life. His book titles include, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the best in people at their worst, Life by Design and Influence and the Art of Persuasion. These days he is spending quality time away from the spotlight enjoying the company of his wife and practicing his electric guitar.