It’s British Sandwich Week and to mark the occasion, we think it’s about time everybody said goodbye to the worst kind of sandwich:
The sh*t sandwich
/ ðə; ðɪ / ʃɪt /ˈsænwɪdʒ; -wɪtʃ /
- a method of delivering some bad news, advice, or a rejection of someone’s idea(s) by starting and ending a conversation with compliments. Designed to make the information more palatable, easier to take, and/or easier on the receiving party
- two or more slices of bread, usually buttered, with a filling the receiver finds displeasing.
In other words, the crappy way that “feedback” is sometimes given – particularly in the creative industry. For many of us, even uttering the word “feedback” brings us out in a cold sweat. We cringe. We recoil. We get the feedback fear and usually jump to the worst (and often wrong) conclusion of: “uh oh, what have I done? I’m in trouble now”.
But feedback shouldn’t be thought of as negative. The reasoning behind ANY feedback should be to congratulate someone so they keep up the good work; to change something for the better; or to help someone develop. Feedback certainly shouldn’t leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Like an epic triple-decker sandwich, agency life at Home is stuffed full of feedback – we playfully evaluate ideas in creative brainstorms, think through engagement plans, question whether we’ve nailed a narrative, pitch ideas to clients, ask employees how things went for them, help each other professionally grow and develop.
An appetite for feedback
Most of us find it easier to give some types of feedback than others. When it comes to behavioural matters, giving feedback can seem quite daunting as we’re never sure how someone’s going to react. But great teamwork is dependent upon it. So, last year we decided to invest in some feedback training for our Homies.
It’s starting to make a big difference, so we wanted to share a few simple sandwich based pointers that we hope will help you too:
Make sure it’s fresh
No one wants a soggy sarnie. It has to be fresh. The same applies to feedback. Try not let too much time pass, especially if it’s difficult feedback to give – get in as soon as possible (unless emotions are involved, in which case ensure everyone is in the right mindset first). It’s much easier to give (and receive) feedback while it’s fresh. We think 72 hours is the sweet spot.
Keep it specific – what ingredient would you like to change?
Regular, relevant, specific and simple fact based feedback is best. Negative feedback can often be buried under compliments or it can be vague so as not to offend. This leaves it open to misinterpretation or uncertainty as to what the desired outcome needs to be. Stick to the facts: what happened and what the impact was.
Preparation is key
Have all your ingredients at the ready – be clear on the facts before you begin. Keep emotions out of it. Your feedback will have a much better chance of being accepted that way.
Just add mayo
What needs to happen now? Should they continue with what they’re doing or change something? If a change is involved be very clear as to what this should be, use “want” and “need” rather than “could”.
When feedback is approached in this way and made part of a frequent and real conversation, it becomes much easier to give and receive. Plus, if you’re prepared and it’s served up fresh and in the moment, giving feedback should only take a minute or two. And not a sh*t sandwich in sight.