Changing Perceptions and The Value of Follow-Up

Can you really change people’s perceptions about you?

Business leaders are getting better at asking for feedback. That’s a good thing. Some have the knack for asking for it personally (“Hey, by the way, how am I doing at XYZ?”). Others feel more comfortable with a formal – and anonymous – 360-degree process.

But what do you DO with the feedback?? Well, you start by thanking the person who gave it to you. “Thanks for taking time to give me some feedback. I learned a lot.” Then you make a plan for change and work the plan.

And here’s the part that a lot of folks forget: follow-up. That means you go back to your team, your boss, (wife!?) etc. every 30-45 days and say, “Hey I told you I was going to work at getting better at XYZ. How am I doing? Anything else I can do to be better?”

Our research (p. 203 of our book) shows that people who follow-up have a significantly higher PERCEPTION of improvement as compared to those who do not follow-up. Why is that? Follow-up allows you to continually gather information about how you’re doing…and it sends a clear message that you’re committed to improvement. It also tells people to LOOK for improvement, because you’re in their face about it every few weeks.

Once you follow that formula – asking for feedback, making a plan for improvement, work the plan, and follow-up – and get better in a particular area, then pick something else and start the process over again. And remember you don’t have to be bad to get better.