Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Second Score – use this meta-feedback strategy

In our work and learning places the quality of creative culture can be directly linked to the quality of the feedback culture.

We might also call this a Culture of Critique with its associated processes and dispositions.

It is no real surprise that we should invest time, energy and effort in getting good at feedback. What follows is an outline of a a handy technique, I will coin Second Score, which can aid the way we receive feedback from others.

I first came across it in “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well,” co-authored by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone. Worthy of your time and standard reading for anyone interested in feedback.

It is pretty straightforward, basically we give ourselves a (you guessed it dear reader) Second Score. But importantly the assessment is about the way we received the feedback.

Let’s imagine the scenario where you have created a diagram to visualise a key concept. It will form part of larger written report you are collaborating on with your team. You pitch in the version you have drafted over the last few hours and have asked for some critique or feedback from others. That feedback arrives from a few of your team and overall it seems heavy handed and too general in detail to be useful. [PAUSE]

So at this moment just as you complete the reading of the feedback comments, you have a choice. We all have a choice in these moments. How we choose to receive the feedback. It is this reception that we can rate or assess. By explicitly thinking about your Second Score (how we receive the feedback) we increase our self awareness at this critical moment, increasing the likelihood of openness and more favourable conditions for it to be received well.

[PLAY] In this scenario we might: (a) throw up our hands and agree never to contribute a visual element to future reports (b) write down some questions in response to help clarify what needs your attention first (c) Nod our heads, retreat to our happy place, change nothing (d) delete the original files and say “I thought that is what you meant, oh fine, I can’t win!” (e) corner one of the feedback providers and ask them what their problem is.

You can hopefully see the choice that might score more favourably using our Second Score.[1] Although we might judge the quality of the feedback to have been low, we can happily give ourselves a higher Second Score in terms of how we received it. Well done you.

For us and for younger learners this type of technique will potentially develop a strong reflective habit. In many ways this falls into the meta-cognitive bucket insomuch that the act of reflecting on how we receive feedback. I am not sure if you can put the word meta in front of feedback but it feels like this is a meta-feedback technique.

So the next time you are providing feedback, and especially when we are on the receiving end consider your Second Score.

  1. (a) good luck with that (b) yes definitely this one (c) no (d) see “a” (e) no that is just wrong  ↩

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