Friday, February 8, 2013

We All Need Feedback

This week I participated in a CEO/board chair symposium for a niche segment in the nonprofit world.  While I gleaned several big ideas every day, my “Aha!” moment was an unintentional consequence of a presenter’s blunder.

A highly-credentialed workshop leader inspired us with the power of stories—how to use simple customer stories to enhance our brands. He said effective stories must be short, true and memorable.

Here’s the irony! When he finally shared a compelling story with our group, he was already 50 minutes into his presentation on how to leverage stories! The story was powerful—and added punch to his presentation—but he did not model the power of story. 
He didn’t practice 
what he preached.

I thought to myself. “Wow—with just a small dose of gracious feedback from a colleague, he could improve his presentations by 50 or 100 percent.” 

Then I had this Holy Spirit nudge. “John, you too! If you were open to feedback you could improve your role as a board chair by 50 or 100 percent.” 

Gulp! So here’s the point: all of us need feedback. It’s so obvious to others—but less obvious to ourselves. So how do we get better?
   • Ask an impartial person to observe our board meetings—and give us feedback.
   • Take 10 minutes at the end of a board meeting and conduct a checklist self-assessment. Did I contribute? Did I model God-honoring graciousness? Did I listen more than I talked?
   • Ask another CEO or board chair to coach you and your board. 

Why? Boards must model excellence if we want our CEOs, staff and volunteers to model excellence.  God is honored when we get better at governance! God is honored when we ask for feedback—and when we practice what we preach, our CEOs will ask for feedback.

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