Give Your Feedback A Better Chance to Make a Big Impact

by | Mar 23, 2023 | Coaching, Leadership, Working Genius

Pause Your Feedback Please

Great collaboration can only happen when feedback is both given and received well. For that to happen, it requires team members to know when their Genius of Discernment is or is NOT helpful. We call that Regulating Your Genius!

Feedback, a part of the Discernment activity, can be tricky no matter what the scenario is. It’s critical to know when or how to provide it.

For the purpose of this post, we’ll look at feedback and discernment from a broader perspective by viewing it as an activity within the process of work and considering where it is and is NOT helpful.

More specifically, speaking to the value of putting your Discernment on pause when the objective in any given conversation or meeting is to brainstorm (Ideation).


But first, let’s provide clarity around this word “Discernment”.

Discernment is the activity of work where a person or team responds to a solution that has been developed (Invention) which of course has been created in response to a need that’s been identified during the activity of Wonder.

  1. Discernment is for determining the viability of a solution – do we move ahead or go back to the drawing board?
  2. Discernment should also be a checkpoint where you affirm (or not) that a solution is actually answering the question of Wonder. It may be viable but is this solution relevant & addressing the need/opportunity?
  3. Discernment is for refining a solution – if we’re going ahead, what are the limits, how can we work within and/or overcome them? Where does the solution need to evolve?

Discernment is a VITAL activity for doing work and when it’s used at the appropriate time and in a helpful manner, it will radically change your effectiveness and collaboration as a team.

Discernment out of place…

Puts limits on your brainstorming when what is needed is a free flow of any and all ideas.

When discernment or feedback is given too soon, it can bring the process of brainstorming to a halt and discourage a team that is in the middle of ideating. In fact, ideas no longer have a chance to fully form into something worth discerning when ill-timed feedback wedges its way too soon into the brainstorming conversation.

Freedom is needed for Brainstorming

For a brainstorming to be effective, constraints and limits need to be momentarily suspended.

Let’s remember two factors about the purpose of brainstorming:

  1. It’s purpose is to generate something new in response to an identified need;
  2. New solutions exist beyond what currently is, including limitations.

So, it’s NOT that discernment isn’t needed. You still need to consider ‘the realities’ that feedback helps us to stay in touch with. However, the timing of it is critical for success.

The purpose for brainstorming is to come up with a solution that exists outside your current reality. This is why feedback should be temporarily put on pause because you need the freedom to ideate without borders…for now.

Ask yourself this question, “What will happen to the free flow of ideas when someone brings up budget?”

Chances are, the dreaming takes on the size of the box it’s put it – in this instance the size of the box is “the size of the budget”. In other scenarios, it could be limited by current room capacity, ‘status-quo’, current technology, or by comparing yourself to what everyone else is doing.

The size of the box, whether big or small, can unnecessarily become anotherproblem‘ to solve before you’ve had a chance to properly address the original need you identified. Even worse, it could distract you from clearly defining what the real need is to begin with.

If an organization habitually allows feedback to occur out of place, a team risks being ineffective and frustrating its team members.

Inventors will be frustrated by the lack of freedom to explore new ideas.

Discerners will be frustrated when their feedback loses its impact and/or the team appears disenfranchised with their well-meaning, valuable but misplaced discernment.

On either side, this can lead to: poor collaboration; wrongfully judging each other’s motives; or feelings of personal guilt for Discerners who begin to see themselves as the ‘negative one’ that slows everyone down.

So, what can you do?

  • Regulate your Genius of Discernment
  • Recognize your need to Ideate & to Discern are equally vital to your team’s health & effectiveness
  • Create space for all 6 Geniuses/Activities to occur
  • Communicate Expectations – if you’re brainstorming, be disciplined to communicate your purpose & commitment to remain in Ideation
  • Peer Accountability – hold each other accountable when it’s not YET time for discernment (“That’s a good point, but can you make note of that for later.”)
  • Be Humble & Kind – this is going to take practice and that’s 100% ok…in fact, practice is the way forward
Be ready to UnPause Your Feedback

When a team learns to suspend feedback until the proper time, the brainstorming will have the breathing room it needs in order for your ideas to mature. And when that happens, you’ll have a more ‘complete’ idea to bring to the table that is ready for discernment.

Now you’re ready to engage feedback in the Invention-Discernment loop, addressing limits & potential obstacles as you tweak an idea until a refined solution ermerges and you’re confident to give it the ‘go ahead’.

But ‘go ahead’ doesn’t mean you’re ready for Implementation…first you need to Galvanize your team and we’ll leave that for another post.

So let me ask if you want to…

  • avoid team turbulence & the frustration it creates?
  • see your team collaborate better & increase effectiveness?
  • redeem future time from being wasted in meetings?
  • take your team to the next level?
  • experience less guilt & judgment on your team?

Then take Working Genius for a Test Drive!

I’m convinced that the Working Genius will help you to adjust and improve your team’s productivity and morale at work. If you lead a team, it’s worth seeing firsthand how this model can change the game for your team. 

I can’t convince you BUT that’s what the test drive is for. I’ll give you a custom link to a WG Assessment and follow-up with a 45 min debrief of a team workshop. If it resonates, we’ll set it up for your entire team to experience The Working Genius.