My view on… Feedback in 2017

My view on… Feedback in 2017

CIAO to everybody,

Today I would like to offer you a message I sent some weeks ago to the L3 forum.
Some parts are unknown or at least not accessible to judges who aren’t L3… actually, I believe that most of the initiatives I introduce here and reserved to L3 judges… well, maybe it will be a good read for all of you anyway.


Hello to everybody,
I would like to highlight a few initiatives of 2017.
The topic is FEEDBACK.

Why and when feedback is important?

The judge program is a volunteer organization, where the growth of the individual is based also on peer-to-peer review and mentoring.
Working, training and studying with others is considered to be a more effective way to learn and improve, compared to doing it alone.
Feedback comes through several forms: appreciation, coaching and evaluation.
They can happen at any time: during events, at the end of events, during online conversation, through the Exemplar nomination, in Facebook comments…

Why and when feedback is dangerous?

Feedback is a relationship, but not everybody wants to create such relationship.
Appreciation is, I believe, always appreciated (well, the noun and the verb have the same root, so it should work, right? ^__^).
Coaching may be appreciated, but let’s pay attention not to talk down people; “please leave me alone” is not what we desire when we coach somebody else, so let’s pay attention to avoid invading other people “space”.
Evaluation is the most dangerous. “Who the hell are you?” is not a good beginning of a relationship, right?
Let’s do our best to first establish the relationship, aligning our expectations with the expectations of the other person (whether we are the giver or the receiver), and then we can feel safe in offering the feedback.

OK, this is the introduction to the concept of feedback.
Below you have the introductions to some initiatives.
The goal is that you are aware of their existence.
Maybe you know about other similar initiatives, or you have comments about any of them.

GPHJ evaluation of L3s

For 2017, Grand Prix head judges have been requested to give an evaluation of the L3s / team leaders at their GPs.
It’s a performance evaluation, and is based on four categories: outstanding, good, average, detrimental. You can find other comments in the March summary of the GPHJ list.
This evaluation was created after the reaction of the L3 community to the end of 2016 maintenance test, where GPHJs were requested to rate all L3s; some L3s were surprised by how they got evaluated, so it was decided to gather data during the entire year, with the goal to have a better evaluation.
A *personal* comment: the L3 maintenance at the end of 2016 was created to answer the very frequent request from the Leadership meeting; “evaluation of L3s” was one of the three most discussed topics in 2016. It was specifically asked to evaluate the *quality* of performance, more than the quantity of events.

GPHJ feedback to L3s

In parallel to the private evaluation, the desire is to offer direct feedback to as many L3s as possible, about their performance on the floor at GPs.
If you will see an increase of reviews (or just simple talks at the end of your Grand Prix events), it means that this initiative is producing some results.
Same, if you notice an increase in the depth of those talks/reviews, it’s a good sign.
If you are attending or you attended a Grand Prix, you can expect a review from your HJ or one of the Appeal judges. It can be short or long, positive or negative, deep or superficial; in any case, it can be useful, and has the goal of helping you in your future events.
A *personal* comment: I have been L3 for several years, and I noticed that in the last few years (which means “after half of us got to L3”), the reviews have shifted from “we help each other to get better” to “I should pay attention, I must avoid saying anything that can make the other person feel attacked”. I believe we may benefit from a higher level of mutual support, exactly like we benefitted from it when we were L2s wanting to become L3s.

Red Cross – Mentoring

The Red Cross is a “feedback pull” system, meaning that it is used only by people who ask for it.
One part is about mentoring, where a judge asks to have a mentor on a specific area; after the relationship is created, they make focused efforts together.
In the first wave (February/March), we had four couples of judges formed.

Red Cross – Evaluation

The Red Cross is a “feedback pull” system, meaning that it is used only by people who ask for it.
Another part is about evaluation, where a judge asks to be evaluated by the advanced role judges; evaluations are collected and summarized, without a direct communication with each “evaluator”, unless any of the evaluator takes the initiative.
In the first wave (February/March), we had four judges asking for evaluation, and we are in the process of collecting information from advanced role judges (33% offered their opinion so far); the plan is to complete the collection by the middle of April and summarize and have any needed follow up in the second half of April.
The second wave (April/May) already has three judges who asked for evaluation.

Seminars and books

I actually studied the topic, and presented a seminar at the European L3 conference in February.
The study, as we were doing at school, was based on books, and the one I would like to recommend you to read is this one:
Title: Thanks for the feedback
Authors: Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
Editor: Penguin Books
I read it, I underlined the concepts that looked to me more important, I read them again, I discussed with “schoolmates” and then I took the “exam”; yes, exactly like at school.
In the past, Wizards sent a couple of books to L4+. Today, my recommendation is that Regional Coordinators get *one* copy, to be transferred among interested L3s. In Italy, we are doing it.

Head judge, appeal judge and team leader evaluation

Just like the head judge gives evaluation and feedback to the L3s and the team leaders, any judge is able (and encouraged) to give an evaluation and to offer advice to their head judge, appeal judges and team leaders.
The form is an anonym Google form; the data is collected and elaborated by the GPHJ lead and feedback will be given to judges, likely quarterly.

Other known feedback systems we use in the Judge Program

Reviews, now in JudgeApps
… and any conversation you regularly have with your colleagues and friends 😉

I hope you enjoyed this article, and I’m looking forward to reading your comments.

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