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On feedback and growth in the workplace

I’m in the process of setting my 2021 OKRs for work right now. As a starting point, my mentor had requested for me to think about my strengths and how to tie it all together.

Me: Okay, I’m going to need some time to think about my strengths.

Also me: Do you want weaknesses too? I can give them to you right now, if you want.

An experiment in gathering feedback

I used to squirm at the idea of talking about myself. Actually, that’s a lie – I still squirm at the idea, but now I (begrudgingly) recognize its value in allowing people to consider both the quality of my work, and the sum of my character.

I’m always trying to make things easier for myself though, and to that end, I’ve been experimenting.

At the end of each project or phase of work last year, I sent out a really simple Typeform survey to my teammates, which has 4 questions that look something like this:

Question 1 of the survey

The 3 scaled statements are:

  • Jalyn was helpful and was aligned to the team’s objectives.
  • Jalyn delivered a high quality of work and showed her value to the team.
  • I will work with Jalyn again / I will recommend Jalyn to other teams in the future.

And finally, an open-ended area for comments.

I can’t take credit for this idea, because this was something my old team at a previous workplace had done, although that was done on a team/delivery level, and not a personal one.

It’s also interesting, as I have received more useful qualitative feedback through these surveys than the team did with it.

What is it good for?

Where it shines in my exercise to find my strengths and weaknesses (which said mentor has reframed as road blocks, which I thought was very nice) is that it gives me a way to cluster the feedback I received.

This way, I get to pull exact quotes across all the different work I’ve done, and be able to back my own perceived performance with this feedback.

A demonstration in action

(Just an example each!)

For my self-anointed strength of:

Collaboration between functions – “She has good technical knowledge and is able to bridge the gap between design and tech.”

Positive and can-do attitude – “She radiates passion and inspires her peers to drive and push the work further.”

Providing structure – “You came in with your usual neat and organised approach, and the new design system is super neat and easy to go through.”

So, let’s chalk this up as an experiment gone well. I’ll have to think about tweaking it to optimize it even further, but I’m definitely going to carry through asking my teammates for some kind of feedback now!

2 thoughts on “On feedback and growth in the workplace”

  1. Pingback: On setting goals and OKRs – Jalyn Cai

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Jalyn. I look forward to applying this myself with my team mates. Always a pleasure learning from you.

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