Chemical Information Bulletin, Volume 48, Number 3, Summer 1996 Page: 1
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The Technical Information Center at the American Cyanamid Agricultural Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey,
is a true Center of Excellence. The members of the staff enjoy a reputation second to none when it comes to customer
satisfaction (and I have the survey results to prove it). These individuals work hard to fill every request, regardless
of how obscure the source, how difficult the search, or how tight the deadline. (I hope you can tell that I am very
proud to be associated with them.)
One skill that is absolutely essential in any group or organization that hopes to achieve excellence is the ability to
give and to receive feedback. Everybody needs feedback from peers, from customers, from leaders, and feedback
that you give to yourself. Feedback is part of the coaching process that helps each of us perform at our highest
potential. We need feedback to tell us when we are doing things right-so that we will continue to do the right things.
We also need feedback when we need to change-so that we can improve our performance.
But it is not always easy to give feedback to another member of your team. Many people don't want to "make waves."
Some people would rather ignore a problem, hoping that it will go away.
Here is a script that will help you give feedback: First, make sure that there are no barriers to communication. Is this
the right time and the right place for you to give your feedback? Is the other person receptive? Are you calm and
prepared to deliver your message?
Say, "I am concerned about. . .," then give a reason for the person to listen. Say, "When you. . .," then describe
the behavior without judgment, exaggeration, labeling, attribution, or motives- just the facts. "I feel. . ." happy,
sad, angry. . . "Because. . ." and then describe the connection between the facts you observed and your feelings.
Pause to let the other person respond (listen to but don't be distracted by the response).
Say, "I would like. . .," then describe the change that you want the other person to consider. "Because. . ." describe
why you think the change will improve the situation. Then say, "What do you think?" Listen and respond.
Here is an example of giving feedback using this script: "I am concerned about the productivity of our team meetings.
When you arrive late and interrupt the meeting by talking to people near you about what you have missed, I feel upset
because I would rather use our meeting time to do the work we need to do rather than reviewing the things that were
discussed before you arrived." [Pause.] "I would like you to arrive for meetings on time, because our meetings will
be more productive if we don't have to interrupt the meeting to bring you up to speed. What do you think?"
Many members of the Technical Information Center staff have this feedback script printed on a toy watering can.
The watering can is a visible reminder that we all need feedback to achieve top performance:
Feedback is like rain. When there is a drought the crops won't grow; not enough feedback and people stop growing.
Harsh storms can be destructive; harsh feedback can damage the self- esteem of the person receiving the feedback.
Too much rain at one time results in a flood; too much feedback at one time can be overwhelming. But when the rain
comes gently and regularly, everything grows. And when not enough comes naturally-get out your WATERING
CHEMICAL INFORMATION BULLETIN 1
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American Chemical Society. Division of Chemical Information. Chemical Information Bulletin, Volume 48, Number 3, Summer 1996, periodical, Summer 1996; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5638/m1/3/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .