Last night, we attended a parent/teacher conference for our son. As a middle school student, Isaac also had the opportunity to participate in the conference as well. Isaac had just finished up his first marking period of seventh grade. He did remarkably well (proud Dad moment) achieving straight A’s.
The conferences were optional yet we decided to scheduled a meeting with his core teachers. For Leanne and I, it was an opportunity to listen to additional feedback – to hear where Isaac is excelling and to her where Isaac could grow or improve. Naturally, the feedback from his teachers was all great to hear. And at the end of the conference, they provided an opportunity for us to ask questions.
Isaac asked his teachers this question, “How can I do better?”
This is a pretty powerful question if you’re serious about getting a true response. Just because we did “well” doesn’t mean we can’t get better. I like this philosophy. When I was in an active design engineering role at my company, I used to ask the installers and the start-up technicians these types of questions. “How can I improve my design next time to make your installation easier or to make your start-up activities go more efficiently?“ I learned so much by asking questions like this. As a manager now, I need to keep asking these questions. I want to be the best manager possible to help my team succeed and to help my team members achieve their personal career targets.
Isaac’s teachers gave him some great feedback in response to his question. They told him to speak up and to take a more active leadership role in group activities. They encouraged him to be more creative in some of his assignments. And they reaffirmed that he was already doing a great job. Then the teachers turned the tables on Isaac by asking their own follow-up question, “How can we do a better job helping you?“ Isaac had to think about this question. What a great conference to attend! It was so neat to see students and teachers discussing ways to get better. What an example for all of us!
And so, I’d like to ask a couple of questions. I hope you’ll give me honest and constructive feedback. It’s part of the STRETCHING process. I value your feedback!
How can I better serve you – The Stretched Community? What thoughts can you share to help me improve my writing and The Stretched Blog? What topics would you like me to cover more often? Less often? What’s working well? What’s not working so well?