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Description: Soliciting, accepting, understanding and implementing feedback related to your projects from users, experts and stakeholders.

 

Thinking Partner Notes

What’s the fiction: Asking for advice is sign of weakness.
What's really true: An unwillingness to improve is the real sign of weakness. Soliciting advice and feedback unlocks your ability to constantly improve and it builds collaboration with people who think differently than you do.


Example: After looking at the Inquiry compass, Mark recognized he had a tendency to be highly analytical and procedural, but had a blind spot in relational thinking. He had an upcoming meeting with a new potential client that requires he build rapport quickly.

Mark thought about who in his firm might have worked with this person before, or was highly relational themselves. Simon came to mind. Simon’s advice to Mark was to start by acknowledging what he thought were the admirable qualities of the client's company, and then ask him to share what his favorite things were about it. Also it turned out Simon didn’t know Mark’s new client directly but a friend did.

He called the friend, and discovered the client loved soccer, and was enraptured with the underdog favorite Croatia for the world cup. Mark now had a couple of natural ways he could quickly build rapport with the new client. After the meeting he received a text from Simon asking how it went, and offering to help in any way he could. By seeking advice, not only did Mark get great input, he also had a new ally within the firm to collaborate with.

 

Things to try: A) Practice appreciating the strengths of others; B) Practice recognizing your areas of constant improvement; C) Practice asking others how they do things; D) Practice asking others their impression of your performance.

Next steps: 1) Using the Inquiry Compass, identify the natural quadrant(s) that you tend to default to as your inquiry style–the way you naturally explore an issue when you are confused. Pinpointing that style is the key to understanding your particular bias for working through new-to-you information or capabilities. 

2) Now identify your blind spot–a quadrant where you habitually do not ask questions and tend to avoid is your blind spot. For example, someone may repeatedly ask you how you are feeling (relational) but never ask about your future plans (innovative). As with cognitive styles, knowing your blind spots can be extremely helpful in expanding your ability to inquire. They are suitably named because, if someone asks you influential questions from a quadrant that you habitually avoid, you can be blindsided and misunderstand their questions as a challenge or attack.

3) Pay attention to your blind spots and seek advice and input from someone who is strong in this form of inquiry. Adopting a growth mindset will enable you to ask for support, because you know it does not mean you are incompetent. It actually indicates you are self-aware of your mastery, and of areas where you need backup. This is the essence of collaboration.


Additional Resources

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Soliciting Advice

The Advice Method

What good looks like when you're asking for help  and how you can master this capability.

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MULTIMEDIA EXPLORATION

Soliciting Advice Media

Dive deep on soliciting advice through articles, podcasts + more.