Betty White, a great comic actor, died a few days ago.
Stan Zimmerman, a writer on the television comedy The Golden Girls, said that her timing and delivery was often perfect. In fact, when joke just didn’t go over, the problem was not in her delivery – it was the joke itself. So, the writing team just wrote a new joke.
I think a lot of us could benefit from a Betty White in our lives. Someone who we trust who can tell us when our jokes stink, or our brilliant new ideas aren’t ready for prime time. As I work on launching a new program over the coming months, I hope I will have the courage to call on the Betty White’s in my life.
I hope your year is off to a fine start.
January 5, 2022 at 3:22 pm
Channeling my inner Betty White…call on me anytime!
Seriously, I still get a bit of a twinge when I have an opinion or idea that I think is brilliant, and based on logic, but someone else (with less knowledge and experience) doesn’t agree or shoots it down. I do have two people whose opinions I trust because they will talk through my ideas with me and offer suggestions for improvement. They help me think through things more deeply and offer a different perspective.
Hope this helps!
January 6, 2022 at 8:08 am
Ruth – I can see you channeling your inner Betty. But come to think of it, perhaps she had been channeling you all these years. You are sharp, you are funny, and you cut through bs with a scythe. I’m glad you’re my pal and I can count on you.
I get not wanting to hear feedback from people who have less experience or knowledge unless I actually ask for it. Then I am open. But my wanting feedback is key for me. – Rick
January 5, 2022 at 4:51 pm
Great words of wisdom!
January 6, 2022 at 8:09 am
Thanks, John. I appreciated reading that comedy writer’s wisdom too.
January 5, 2022 at 7:14 pm
This isn’t quite what you asked, but………the best advice I ever got along these lines came from Daniel Freedman and Gerald Weinberg, and that’s the idea of a “technical review” as they defined it in their book: Handbook of Walkthroughs, Inspections, and Technical Reviews. In the IT world anyway, whether you’re defining requirements, doing design, or coding, the central question is always “will this product do the job it’s supposed to do.” When your peers ask that question of your work, using the process Freedman & Weinberg lay out, the results are invaluable. I was so taken by the value of that process that I’ve asked peers to review almost everything I’ve done since, and I inevitably learn something significant from it.
January 6, 2022 at 8:14 am
George – I didn’t know about this book, but I am glad to know it exists. And the title is brilliant. It tells readers exactly what they will get. It gives me ideas for something I could add to my own work with clients to help them and me take a sober look at our progress or decline. A key for me in any type of debrief is my/our commitment to hearing and exploring feedback. Thanks. – Rick
January 6, 2022 at 8:00 am
Ready when you are…
January 6, 2022 at 8:15 am
Clive – that’s good to hear.Thanks! – RIck
January 6, 2022 at 9:36 am
Hi Rick: It’s all about confidence and being able to trust your inner circle. I’m here for you to be a sounding board anytime. Best for a healthy and prosperous 2022.
January 6, 2022 at 9:41 am
Lon – You have been a trusted advisor to me many times over the past few years and I truly appreciate it. And thanks for the offer to continue those exchanges. I can always count on you to give me candid and helpful feedback and advice. I hope I can return those favors sometime. – Rick
January 6, 2022 at 9:39 am
I am excited to know what the new programme is about since your books ate all great and super valuable resource. If you think my feedback might have some value for you, I would be the critical eye and ear.
January 6, 2022 at 9:52 am
Ada – Thanks for those kind words and for your offer to help. I am not quite ready to ask for feedback, but when I am, I will reach out.
Years ago, I was talking with Ray Bard (who became my publisher) about a book idea. He asked me to send what I had written. I told him that my thinking was still too rough and exploratory. I’d be glad to send something later.
He said that is exactly when he likes to read what a potential author is up to. It allows him to see what the writer is thinking and perhaps offer some helpful guidance.
He stopped me and said their are four archetypes for a writer.
First is the Madman. (or Mad Person). This is the stage where you are all over the place with ideas and themes etc. He said that’s where I should be and it would be a mistake to move to any of the other archetypes yet.
Second is the Architect. This is where the writer creates a blueprint. The big picture.
Third is the Builder. Here is where you write a draft the book.
The final stage is the Critic (Ray used another word but I don’t recall it.) Nevertheless, this is where you are fine tuning that draft.
He urged me to stay away from stage for now.
That was great advice and I still use it. So, Ada, once i get to the architect stage, I will let you know.
January 9, 2022 at 9:16 am
Thanks Rick. It’s important to be able to look in the mirror and get real feedback. The Betty Whites in my life have saved me many times. I’ll do my best to be there for you. Hope all’s well and best wishes for a wonderful 2022.
January 9, 2022 at 10:52 am
Larry – Good to hear from you. . . You have been there for me many times since we met when I gave a presentation where you work. And I appreciate that. – Rick
January 25, 2022 at 9:41 am
Hi Rick and a belated Happy New Year!
Re the feedback question: I learned this from a senior manager, an engineer by background, during my days in one of the Big 4 consultancies.
At the end of each meeting, she would turn to a trusted colleague and ask for “two ‘ups’ and two ‘downs’ ” with respect to her contribution to the discussion. No judgment, no conversation, just simple focused observations on what seemed to work well and what might have worked even better. She could then reflect on the observations and decide if she might ‘show up’ differently or use herself in a different way next time.
April 18, 2022 at 1:41 pm
Ross – Somehow I missed commenting on the “two ups and two downs” idea. It is a perfect example to illustrate how simple getting feedback can be. Thanks. – Rick