Pragmatic Programmer Issues

The Power of Feedback – book review

I’ve just read great book: The Power of Feedback. The book is awesome, and everyone who wants to improve yourself should read it. Here is brief, chapter by chapter short description, to keep important ideas.

  1. Reacting to Feedback: The main problem is our reaction to feedback, most of the time we deny feedback with the person who gave us, that does not help us at all. Let’s cite principle seven: “The process of change begins with accepting the feedback given.
  2. Why did I Get That Feedback? The feedback is always true, of course from the others perspective, and once somebody forms opinion on us it is hard to change that. The same on our side, as principle eleven: “When we provide feedback, we tend to base our perceptions on our own performance and personality“.
  3. Improving Your Ability to Accept Feedback: First step is to accept feedback. Principle fourteen: “One way of improving a skill is to improve your performance in companion skills“. There are a lot of companion skills: Integrity, Honesty, Optimism, Friendly, Respects others, Listens, Develops others, Coaching, Willing to Set Stretch Goals and so on.
  4. Why Change? Why we should bother of changing if we perform well, the answer is principle seventeen: “To maintain a perception of high performance, you must change over time.” Otherwise we will become less and less performant.
  5. Deciding What to Change. We have the list, but what should be the first item in our agenda? The answer is to prioritize against three criteria: “Felt need”, “Easy of Change” and “Relative Impact”. After that we may chose more accurately, and remember principle twenty-two: “Issues dealing with things are easier to change than issues dealing with people.”
  6. Fixing Weaknesses or Building Strengths? People tend to think about weaknesses, and try to fix them, but in fact it is easier and it will have more impact to focus on ours strengths. Principle twenty-four: “Doing something well has a dramatic impact on perceived effectiveness.”
  7. Making Change Happen. How to start working on change and how to avoid giving up. So to start principle twenty-seven is the best: “Redefining negative feedback in a positive light creates increased motivation to change”, and to continue with change we have to first try it, enjoy it and practice it, from time to time we may reward ourself to keep high motivation.
  8. Making Change Stick: The most important chapter in the book, how to make change permanent. I’m even not able to summarize this chapter here, so principle thirty-five: “You can only make significant life changes if you have the necessary desire, strength, and motivation to cause those changes to happen.”
  9. Working Harder or Working Smarter? Final chapter is about the list of companion behaviors with real life examples.

Yes we cannot improve without feedback, so next time if somebody give you, even negative, feedback, than you should be happy. Thanks to feedback we can discover our strengths and weaknesses. So if you have opportunity to give somebody feedback, don’t think just do it.

Go buy or borrow this book, and read it carefully.