How am I doing at work? The importance of feedback.


No one talked.

The boss did not call meetings. We worked in silos thinking that everything was going on well with the world. Until, one day work became an autonomous unchallenging tryst with life itself.

A very common situation. During the mid-1990s, I worked for a boss who sat just two feet away. A very nice man but he never believed in feedback. If asked, he would shrug his shoulders and say: “You are doing just fine.”

Managerial feedback is as important as workplace harmony. As human beings, our innate curiosity makes us ask: How and Why.
“You’ve got to look into the mirror before giving feedback to others,” says Suzanne Peterson, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the WP Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “Giving and receiving feedback enhances your credibility,” Dr. Peterson said at a recent coaching session I had the good fortune to attend.

How many of us have asked (or rather dared to ask) direct reports about our own performance? I’ve done it and it has helped me immensely. In one instance, a direct report said: “You need to tell us clearly what you want us to do and then let go.” Translated, it meant: “Shut up and trust me with my work.” I understood clearly that trust matters.

Here are some common sense tips to improve feedback:

  • Make a list of what you do once every two weeks
  • Share  important achievements and challenges with your boss
  • When good things happen, let your boss know. This adds up during your performance review.
  • Jot down key accomplishments as they will help you in your career
  • Always keep an eye on where you want to go (make better lists)
  • Seek feedback from direct reports and peers
  • Even if your boss doesn’t respond, keep sending lists. We all know  that record keeping helps.
  • Finally, believe in yourself. We can improve and help others be better.

Why Nonprofits Fail


I know first-hand how two non-profits have failed. Neither can blame it on the economic recession nor on bad programs. They failed because they constantly underrated the real cost  of providing services to the community. 

According to  David Greco, Vice President of the Nonprofit Finance Fund, nonprofits should retool their thinking. Here are some tips Greco gave during a recent workshop in Phoenix:

  1. Nonprofits should ask funders for the real cost of providing services. Do not bring the cost of programs down.
  2. Have the discipline to say “No” to funders and others in the community who ask for services at steeply discounted prices. Think like a corporation as the 501-c-3 is just a tax exempt status.
  3. Educate funders that you are in for the long haul. Discounted services will affect your long-term growth.
  4. Change from being a program provider to an enterprise. Think business like.
  5. End the culture of funding programs. Instead, focus on the organization as an enterprise.
  6. Get real data and use it to highlight the good you do.
  7. Target growth in unrestricted income as this is your net worth. Have adequate cash in your reserves to grow your organization. Board designated reserves will add to your financial health.