It’s that time of year for reflection.
Amongst wrapping up our work and preparing for next year, I initiated requests for feedback from my teammates I’ve really enjoyed working with in the last few months.
One of my team mates who’s a strategist and Hyper Island alumni, Daniel Gonzales, taught me to give feedback the Hyper Island way. Here’s how it works:
Reflection and Feedback
Feedback is really important at Hyper Island and it’s a practice they do regularly. Feedback you give to yourself is called “Reflection” and feedback you give to others is “Feedback”.
You share both reflection and feedback out loud with others. This way, there is accountability and group learning. There’s also less risk getting trapped in our own assumptions.
To do feedback, you write down and share your answers to the following questions:
- What did I do well?
- What do I want to do better?
- What are my next steps?
To do reflection, you do the same in this format:
- What I appreciate most about you is…
- What I would like to see more from you is…
Write it down
One key practice is making sure to write down your reflection and feedback in your own writing. It helps you internalise things more meaningfully. This means not typing things out, at least not initially.
Daniel and I gave ourselves time to write down our feedback before we shared it with each other. I wrote my own reflection in my notebook, and Daniel’s feedback on an A4 sheet of paper. Daniel chose to write down my feedback on post-its. Use whatever works for you.
Share it with each other
We took turns to share our reflections and feedback. We tried our best not to interject, although we had a few moments where we couldn’t help expounding on a few points. It was informal but we gave each other due attention.
We could’ve set ground rules for ourselves but we both felt we were coming from the same place. One thing we did do was to ask for evidence around the feedback we shared. To me, evidence turns the feedback from an observation to a learning opportunity.
What we learnt
I am quite self-critical and what I thought was poor behaviour on the project was not expressed or perceived by Daniel. In fact, he thought the opposite. The evidence helped me ground my understanding. Accepting criticism or praise based on evidence is a healthy and important step in growing. This type of learning is absolutely key especially in design work, where confidence is half the battle.
Daniel did a lot of head nodding when I gave him feedback. This is an acceptable and good way of receiving feedback. I’m usually quite dismissive when people give me good feedback about my behaviour, so I’ve decided to do more head nodding and “thanks” from now on.
We also learnt that we wanted to do very similar things in our next steps to deliver better work for the project as a team, and that led us to agree to work together more closely in the new year.
We also agreed to do more feedback as a team moving forward.
Roll your own
The approach we used is adapted from methods documented on the Hyper Island website, such as “I appreciate” and “back turned feedback”, amongst others. These tools were, in turn, adapted from other sources.
In the past, I’ve used other feedback approaches like “start, stop, continue” or “like, wish, wonder”. There’s no magic bullet. The important thing is being intentful, actually doing it, and using it as a way to build bridges and grow.