Wonderful book! Though it is written based on the work with successful executives specifically. the recommendations can be used by anybody who would like to improve. The key is “want to improve.” ;-)
One of the most interesting recommendations is how to ask for the feedback. We should ask what could be improved, rather than request a general analysis of our actions. This approach removes the premise of “criticism” and changes the topic to specific recommendations.
Wiki Summaries gives a summary of the book, from where I can carefully copy and paste the recommendations for the change, which I thought were very beneficial.
Feedback Whenever feedback is given to you in any form, never respond by arguing about it. Instead, write it down and consider it later when your immediate flared passions are calmer. Thank the person for offering their opinion, put the advice aside for a while, and then look at it later with a cool head, and you’ll often find something specific you can improve on. If you want to be proactive about feedback, don’t be afraid to ask for it, but never argue about it.
Apologizing If you realize that you have done something wrong, either very recently or in the past, apologize. Swallow a bit of pride, go up to the person, and just apologize for whatever it is. Likely, you’ll both feel better for it – you’ll lose at least some of the bad feeling and the other person will feel better too (almost always).
Telling the world, or advertising Now that you’ve apologized, what are you going to do to change? The next step is to define the changes you’re going to make and to let everyone know about them, especially the people you’ve apologized to. Apologies don’t mean anything if they’re not coupled with some effort to change.
Listening When someone speaks to you, listen to them. Don’t interrupt them, and try to fully understand what they’re saying before formulating a response. This is always a strong tactic to use when someone is trying to talk to you. If you can’t fully describe and articulate the message someone is trying to deliver to you, your response is guaranteed to be less accurate and thorough than it could be if you listened to the message and to the messenger.
Thanking Whenever someone does something beneficial for you, thank them. Just be sure to take the time to thank everyone who contributes to your success, both directly and in public opportunities when given the chance.
Following up Once you’ve started to really work on these things and started eliminating the bad habits from your life, follow up on them. Wait a few months, then ask the person you’ve apologized to if things are still seeming okay and if you are doing well on your “advertised” plan of attack. Stay diligent yourself, and try to remind yourself often of your goals. Constant follow-up keeps you on task and on focus with anything in your life.
Practicing “feedforward” At this point, you’re making real progress on your negative habits. Now, step back and ask for some future suggestions on where you should go with these changes. Ask someone who you’ve had experience with in the past for two specific things that you can do in the future to help with the behavior(s) you’re working on, listen, thank them, then work on implementing them. Much as feedback talks about the past, “feedforward” talks about the future.
I am glad to discover Wiki summaries – it is a fantastic tools (and will be better as it grows) – particularly when taking notes from my very much loved audio books is somewhat challenging.