“Feedback would happen all the time if … ” – by Peter Cook

As part of my #FeedbackCarnival I’m delighted to host this piece from Peter Cook. Peter isn’t your average leadership and OD professional / speaker / author given that he’s also a highly respected member of the music scene and brings those music skills and experience into his work.  Here Peter shares three key aspects to helping feedback happen all the time…..

Feedback would happen all the time if … “

I was challenged to write a post on the issue of feedback by Helen Amery, around this question and it certainly raised my curiosity. I was also inspired by a post about feedback in music made by Tim Scott on The Larsen Effect. Feedback is essential if we are to reach our best at work and in life in general. At the organisation level, feedback is an essential ingredient if your enterprise is to become a true learning company or adaptive organisation. If that’s the case, why do we not always get the feedback we need to excel personally or corporately? Three thoughts spring to mind:

Feedback happens all the time, if we are listening …

We are bombarded by feedback but that does not mean we’re listening. Noise gets in the way some of the time.In other cases we may not want to hear the feedback we’re getting. Here’s my one page summary of how great communicators operate:

A case in point comes from one of my local pubs that is currently in crisis. The interim manager has the great advantage of having staff that know exactly what problems need fixing. There is also a wealth of valuable information on tripadvisor which pinpoints the kitchen as one area for urgent action. Unfortunately he rules by fear, so the staff won’t share their intimate knowledge of what needs fixing for fear of losing their jobs and he has not used the information available at his fingertips on the internet. As a result, the pub drifts from fad to fad and I fear his turnaround strategy will fail.

Consonance comforts

If all we get is criticism, it’s no wonder that we turn off. Everyone need to get some feedback that is ‘consonant’ with our image of ourselves just to get by. I don’t mean ego stroking or avoiding difficult issues, but if we are to remain open to the kind of feedback that is hard to hear, we need some kind of basic foundation on which to pay attention. If you have to tell someone something hard to hear, it really helps if you have a bank balance of some positives to draw on. It’s what many coaches refer to as the ‘feedback sandwich’.

Consonance is insufficient

However, if all we get are ‘warm fuzzies’ from people, we merely reach a plateau of mediocrity. Great leaders are receptive to more than just signs of approval. They welcome feedback that is ‘dissonant’ with their worldview.

The like button on facebook may comfort, but it does not make us great

To be great, open your ears, accept praise when it’s genuinely given to enhance your strengths. More importantly welcome feedback that is ‘hard to hear’ in order to improve your abilities as a leader. 


Our new book on Leadership, Innovation and Creativity is scheduled for 2016 release.

In the meantime, do order your copy of the NEW edition of “The Music of Business” – Parallel lessons on Business and Music.

Come to our showcase event on June 9th where we will be speaking on disruptive innovation in HR and joining forces with one of the leading influencers of the Punk Rock movement. There may be some feedback !!


Learn > Connect > Do — The Fringe Networking Event for SME and Lone HR People

Are you going to the CIPD L&D Show for Day 1 (13th May)?  (*look at the end of the post if you’ve not booked yet)

Are you in-house HR or L&D for a small to medium organisation OR a lone practitioner for a larger organisation?

Do you sometimes feel like all the speakers at conferences work for big business and corporate?

And do you sometimes leave an event with a head full of stuff, unsure what to do with it next and wishing you had someone to bounce some ideas around with?

Then this is for you!


The CIPD have made huge progress over the last 12 months, bringing in more speakers from SMEs, not for profits and charities. But there are still a lot of big names on the agenda, who definitely do great stuff, but it can be hard – and sometimes not entirely relevant – to transfer what they do into smaller organisations.

Conferences are great for getting a download of lots of ideas and information – and sometimes we leave these events with our minds swimming, unsure how to turn that stuff into something useful – especially if you’re in a standalone HR or L&D role with less easily accessible support.

So we’ve created a new FREE fringe event – just for in-house HR and L&D pros from small to medium organisations.

> It’ll be fun, relaxed, sociable and informal – a chance to make some new connections.

> It’s free.

> Whether you’ve been to the exhibition, the free seminars or the conference seminars, you’ll be invited to share what you’ve heard to help crack a challenge that you and others have chosen as important to you.

You might not leave with a full action plan, but you will leave with:

  • Great new connections
  • Insight into sessions that you missed
  • The chance to reflect with others on what’s been heard
  • The beginnings of some ideas of what you could do
  • At least one tangible action to move your plans forward

So before the tickets all go, here’s where you can book your free place


[Important Note – you also need to be registered for the free CIPD L&D Show exhibition – there’s a link at the end where you can do that.]

And if you want to continue more great conversations after this event, there’s a networking gathering at a pub nearby. The last few spaces for that are available here –


We look forward to seeing you there!

From the fringe team,

Helen Amery, Rowena Bach, Emma Browes, Julie Drybrough, Fiona McBride, Michelle Parry-Slater

*P.S. – If you’ve not registered for the CIPD L&D Show yet which includes lots of great free 30 minute seminars – book here for that  – http://www.cipd.co.uk/events/learning-development-show/exhibition — by the way, you need to register for the free exhibition to come to Learn > Connect > Do

P.P.S. – Follow on Twitter using #LearnConnectDo

[Photo credit – https://fdroog.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/speed-date-img-collaboration.jpg?w=270]

“Feedback would happen all the time if…..” – #FeedbackCarnival

I started writing a post on feedback the other week because it’s something that comes back again and again as something we all struggle to do.  Even if we’re giving feedback about how great something’s been we can still feel awkward and not deliver it well – is that a British thing?  And then there’s the feedback when we’ve spotted something that, if changed, could help someone improve in some way.  The supposed ‘negative’ feedback.

So I started with the post, and it grew, and it grew – limiting beliefs, our past, our present, our brain’s propensity to spot the bad, our ego….. I was chatting to Phil Willcox about it and that it might need to become a series of posts, when he had the awesome idea of having a #FeedbackCarnival in the same way that Steve Browne and Sukh Pabial have done before, and similar to Kate G-L‘s Advent blog series.

So, let’s see what amazing things we can discover, what breakthroughs we can inspire, what some combined brainpower can do to move away from feedback being such a ‘thing’ that we continue to struggle with.

To help guide your thinking I have a theme to follow….. “Feedback would happen all the time if…….”

All you have to do is –

  1. Write a post during April – either on your own site, or if you don’t have one I’m more than happy to put it on mine as a guest post – just email me the word doc of it
  2. Think of what would make it possible for feedback to happen all the time
  3. E-mail me a link to your post at: helen.amery@wildfigsolutions.co.uk and I’ll make sure you’re included in the final curation
  4. Use the hashtag #FeedbackCarnival when sharing on SoMe

Then I’ll curate around early May to share the insights – hopefully in time for the CIPD L&D Show – it could help with your thinking if you’re going there with a focus on management and leadership development.

I can’t wait to read them all!  Happy writing 🙂

Thank you to Phil and Steve for helping make this happen.

[Photo credit – http://scienceroll.com/2007/06/08/10-tips-for-how-to-use-web-20-in-medicine/%5D

This is me…..www.wildfigsolutions.co.uk

WFS Tree