Mighty Good Work

From THE YES WORKS, this is MIGHTY GOOD WORK. A podcast built on the stories of people and companies who are making good work happen. Whether it’s work as a place to be, work as a product or service, or work as a way to spend your life, we will be talking to those who are committed to excellence and who are succeeding in bringing Mighty Good Work into existence. We aim to deliver actionable guidance to people shaping business about engagement, company culture, and healthy business relationships.
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Mighty Good Work





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Now displaying: June, 2017
Jun 28, 2017

GUEST: Elaine Lin Hering


Across industries, people say that feedback conversations are their most difficult conversations -- both giving and receiving.


ONe the receiving end, it’s triggering. On the giving end, you may cause a trigger in the receiver, and you don’t know how it’s being received.


Three kinds of feedback:

  1. Positive feedback: appreciation
  2. Coaching: guidance for improved effectiveness
  3. Evaluation: Tracking against expectations


In order to learn and thrive and do good work, we need all three kinds of feedback.

Feedback is:

  • solicited and unsolicited
  • Verbal and non-verbal


When receiving feedback, people often feel judged.


When feedback is non-verbal, it’s especially hard to interpret.


Principles of Improvisation:

  • Everything is an offer.
  • We are meaning making machines.
  • Be specific.
  • Yes, And. “Tell me more about that.”


Skills for giving feedback is half the equation. Receiving feedback is an equally important set of skills.


We reject feedback for three reasons:

  1. Truth trigger: You’re wrong. You have incomplete data.
  2. Relationship trigger: I don’t like or trust you and your motivations.
  3. Identity trigger: That’s not me. That’s not who I want to be. I don’t want to face the possibility that this describes me or my behavior.


Build awareness as a feedback giver and receiver of the above triggers.


As a giver of feedback, notice and unpack the labels you’re using in giving feedback -- and Be Specific. Specificity can help get around the truth trigger by helping people to be clear that we’re talking about the same thing.


As a receiver of feedback… take some time away and assess the feedback away from the stress of the confrontation.


Don’t use vague or uncertain terms that require interpretation, and that will inevitably get different interpretations from different people. “Be more man-like.”


Describe behavior and describe impact instead.


When receiving feedback, observe your first reaction, and then you can choose your response.


Human beings think in labels. It’s our job as givers (and even as receivers) to translate those labels into useful information.


How can you frame the feedback to be in the self-interest of the feedback receiver. How will it benefit that person to make the change you’re suggesting?


As a receiver, if 90% of the feedback someone gives you is off and irrelevant, focus on the 10% that can serve you.


Feedback is information exchange and it’s the fuel and driver for getting stuff done. So, ask yourself, how is feedback going on our team? How painful is it? How effective is it?

We need a mindset shift: Feedback isn’t the “F” word. It’s an opportunity for improvement and accelerated growth.


Neglecting to give feedback insulates people from the reality of their behavior, of the reality of the impact of that behavior. If you aren’t giving me feedback, you’re cheating me out of the opportunity to learn and grow.


There is no learning without feedback.


If you’re giving people feedback, and it’s not working. 1) Look at how you’re having the conversation. 2) Give meta-feedback. “We’ve had this conversation before. There’s a problem here with your making adjustments based on feedback.”


It’s critical to discuss the impact, the results, the consequences of behavior.


As feedback givers, we will never be free of bias. We can work to filter it out. And as feedback receivers, our job is to try to filter through that bias as well.

Your host on Mighty Good Work is Aaron Schmookler.


And, we’re The Yes Works -- Helping to make work good for people, and make people good for work.


Resources mentioned in today’s show:

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher and William Ury

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, by Douglas Stone

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well…, by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

Manager Tools

HR West, A Professional Conference for HR folks in Northern California

Jun 1, 2017

GUEST: Eric Johnson -- CFO of Nintex


Nintex is a leader in workflow and content automation. Making more time in workflow for what really matters.


The Eric Johnson approach: When I make a commitment, I deliver on that commitment. That builds respect and trust. Caring about people, and hold a mark of high integrity. And look for creating benefit for everyone.


If you’re great to work with, and you do great work, life goes pretty well.


We’ve never taken venture capital to fund operations.


How are we achieving excellence, growth and recognition? It’s a combination of a few things.


  1. Fundamentally, serve a broad need around something that people care about.
  2. A great distribution model. We’ve done a great job of partnering to distribute and get great results for the customer.
  3. Hire great people. We are disciplined about how we hire, and how we treat people.

If you’re competent, but terrible to work with, we’ll try to help you be better to work with… and ultimately, ask you to move on if you don’t improve.


We’re transparent about how we want to work and what our values are. We onboard with a 30-60-90 process and again at 180 and there’s straight-talk about how they’re living up to expectations.


Through our management training, we work to prepare our managers for positive feedback for a positive culture. Celebrate success. Recognize good work. This happens on a large scale and a small scale.

Managers are given guidance and training, not simply expected to be effective without guidance and oversight.


One-on-ones are expected to be a regular thing: weekly or semi-weekly. The reporting in one-on-ones isn’t just about the performance. “How are YOU doing?”


When you employ best people practices, you can experience the difference quickly and powerfully.


There is a hierarchy of function and roles -- and a personal way of relating to one another.


We operate with a high level of transparency, and allow employees to ask probative questions. We don’t always answer with a high-level of specificity. But we are honest, even if we’re delivering an answer they may not want to hear.


It’s important to identify the opportunities to say “no” to.

1) What has alignment with our core values and goals, and what doesn’t?


2) After clearing that alignment, what’s going to deliver value to customers and investors?


When there is disagreement around important questions… people need to be heard. They need to have the opportunity to go through the exploration process.


If you’re not going to allow everyone on the team to express their ideas, and to be affected by the input of others -- then why have a team?


When we face a situation that may in the short term be worse for us, but it’s right in the long term for partnering, then we go with the right in the long term for partnering.


We need to do the right thing for partners, and the right thing for customers. That way, we have sustainable outcome -- not flash in the pan temporary gains.


We don’t let policy prevent us from doing the right thing.


Caring for employees, partners and customers pays dividends.




Today’s guest: Eric Johnson, CFO of Nintex



Your host on Mighty Good Work is Aaron Schmookler.



And, we’re The Yes Works -- Helping to make work good for people, and make people good for work.