Positive Feedback and Change

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

I just responded to a post in which the author mentioned how much his son’s sticky note about him being a great dad meant to him. Here is my reply:

You sticky note story reminded me of when I attempted to learn to Telemark (it is a technique that allows cross-country skiers to sort of replicate the downhill moves of “real” skiers.)

When I saw that the cross country center taught lessons, I signed up for the next morning. And then I had a sleepless night. I wasn’t a skier. I was getting older. I’ll make a fool out of myself. And the list of things that kept me awake kept getting longer.

Morning came and I drove over to the ski center. I was told my teacher’s name was Chip. So I immediately pictured a rugged Olympian who had no time for beginners. That didn’t help.

It turns out he was a really nice guy and a fine teacher. For instance, he gave clear performance feedback. His performance coaching would make ASTD members drool with envy.

Whenever he wanted to give me feedback, he’d ski over to where I was lying down and tell me what I had done wrong.

But the first time I did it right, he yelled out, “Yea.” I wanted more “yeas.” And as the morning went on I started getting more “yeas.” I felt great and my skiing improved. That was my sticky.

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