Ric Willmot's Friday Redux No.15: When I want your opinion, will you provide it?

Friday Redux No.15: When I want your opinion, will you provide it?

Unsolicited feedback is given for the benefit of the sender not the receiver. Don’t concern yourself with those who come offering their criticisms, speculations and the like if you never asked them for it.

I once had a woman thrust her business card into my face after I had given a conference keynote presentation telling me: “I thought you’d like some constructive feedback ….” I immediately interrupted her saying that I wouldn’t.

You and I can easily cope with this.

The converse is not as easy.

Ask people in a meeting what coffee they want to order – done. Everyone readily answers. Ask them what they want for lunch – almost as easy, the answers will flow. Ask these same people during the same meeting how to attack a greenfield area for your products or services and some are reticent to quickly respond. Why?

Perhaps, it’s the fear of failure. It’s a piece of cake to talk about the trivial, non-threatening, matters of taste. However, to proffer an opinion, an insight, an intelligent observation or summation, can be intimidating because you’re chancing your arm. You’re potentially exposing yourself to criticism if you get it wrong. That’s exactly why we need your opinion!

We need you to be brave, bold and fearless. We require your best thoughts on the tough stuff. We can then decide what we do and how far we go with your thoughts. But we want your opinion. Will you provide it?

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