In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • How to receive better feedback from others
  • Deliberately seeking the right kind of feedback
  • Turning feedback into actionable steps toward growth
  • Ways to operationalize your feedback process

I recently received a message from one of my students in the Industry Insider program thanking me for the program and letting me know that it was key to her landing a new job. This recent exchange was the inspiration for this podcast episode, because it was a great reminder of how important it is to leverage feedback opportunities and make the most of them!

So often we leave good and bad feedback at the comment itself. We forget to dig deeper and find out additional information about the feedback, the person giving it, and ways we can use the feedback constructively.

In this example, I could have just focused on the compliment and enjoyed feeling bubbly about it, but that would have been a missed opportunity. Instead I asked her some follow up questions to try and dig a little bit deeper and gain more insight on exactly how the program helped her. Doing that helped me better understand who would benefit from my program and how, AND resulted in a tangible professional asset. Let me explain…

The Industry Insider program is a 4-part webinar series that walks you through what you need to know about landing a nonclinical career without a new degree, a foot in the door, prior experience, or a pay cut. It helps you to better understand the industry overall and therefore excel in the interview process.

Listen in to hear all about ways to use positive feedback to better your career and/or business. Then tune in next week to learn how you can do the same with negative feedback.


“Sometimes feedback feels good and we just don’t want to push it. Sometimes feedback doesn’t feel good and we feel defensive or we feel like the person delivering it has ill will against us or doesn’t like us and so we miss the opportunity…to get constructive feedback.” – Marjorie Stiegler


In this Episode:

[01:09] Hear about my student Ronnie and the email exchange that inspired this episode.

[03:26] Learn the first tip for receiving better feedback from others.

[06:42] Three kinds of feedback, and why you should be deliberate in seeking the right kind of feedback in any situation

[09:50] How you can turn ‘feel good’ feedback into actionable steps you can really use

[12:41] Learn how to operationalize the feedback process for use in your business and career.

[15:02] Check out the additional resources on the website.

[15:36] Hear a quick recap of the episode.

[18:29] What do we do to make the most of “bad” feedback?


Links and Resources:

Industry Insider

Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

4 Important Resume Writing Tips 5 Key Benefits of Having a Website for Doctors




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The Speaking Rx learn the business of professional public speaking to establish yourself as a thought leader you are, and get paid for your speaking expertise

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Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Career Rx!

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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 38: How to Get Better Feedback and Turn it Into a Professional Asset

Hey there, welcome to the Career Prescription. I’m your host, Marjorie Stiegler. This podcast is all about the important stuff they don’t teach you in medical school, about how to treat your career, like the business it really is, and how to be strategic about your success. I’ll show you how to use modern strategies to get ahead, create your own path and do more of what you love. Every episode is inspired by questions from listeners just like you. So be sure to subscribe. And of course, send me those questions, so I can use them on a future episode. So you don’t miss anything, be sure to always check the show notes on my website.

Are you ready? Let’s get into it.

Hey, there, welcome back.

In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about feedback and how to make the most of the feedback that you get, and also how to turn feedback into something that may potentially be a professional asset for you. Now, you know, I like to focus my episodes on questions and comments that I get from your listeners and from students. And today, this episode is inspired by a recent exchange that I had with one of my students. So my student, Ronnie, took my webinar course called Industry Insider. If you haven’t heard me talk about it before, it’s a 4-part webinar series on how to transition from clinical work to land a non-clinical role in the healthcare industry. So perhaps medical devices, pharma, other types of administrative roles.

In the past week, she landed her first job and she let me know about it. So she sent me an email exchange via LinkedIn that I want to read with you. So Ronnie wrote to me and she said, “Thanks, Marjorie, I accepted the offer. After a two year journey, I finally made it into the industry. I owe a lot of my competence during the interview process to your 4-week webinar last year, it was so helpful.”

And she has a lot of O’s in that. So it was so helpful to understand transferable skills and the interview questions. So that’s what she wrote. And that feels great. And I could have left it at that and just sort of bask in the happiness. But it’s not really about me. So of course, I wrote her back to congratulate her. And I told her, it was, you know, so wonderful to hear her news, I was really thrilled about, you know, being part of what had happened. Then I asked her sort of what she learned from the process. And then she shared with me a little bit about how it went, then I took the opportunity to ask her if I could use the conversation that we’re having right now, on my webinar course on the website.

And she wrote back so gracefully, “Marjorie, you can definitely use my quote with my name. Again, it was so helpful, I’d love to tell as many people as I can.”

So that’s the little exchange that inspired me to focus on feedback. In this episode, there’s more to our conversation in which, you know, I learned more about her experience, and I got more feedback on how the course was helpful. But that’s enough, I think, to illustrate the point that a little bit of asking for more can turn into something more. So I got some feedback from her, I got to find out what specifically was helpful. And I’m able to now use that feedback as a professional asset to help other people know about the benefits of this program, which is, of course, how I keep my whole business alive.

And again, the focus of this podcast is how to get better feedback from others. But you can also use this information to think about how you might give better feedback. But you know, that’s a topic for another day.

So the first tip about how to make the most of the feedback you’ve received, how to get the very best feedback is to assume positive intent on the part of the giver. And this is above and beyond what you may have heard in the past, a lot of people suggest to assume positive intent as sort of a protective shield that allows us to receive the feedback to hear it to not be defensive and all that. But in this case, in this episode, what I mean is really to assume very enthusiastic, positive intent on the part of the giver.

Often when we don’t know each other well, or when our relationship is primarily virtual, or if the feedback is being delivered via email, or text or some other abbreviated means, it’s hard to know whether someone is just giving you you know, a little compliment or, or how they would react if you asked for more details. And many times, then I think we shy away from asking for more. But assume this person is your biggest fan.

I mentioned this because a lot of people are hesitant to ask for clarification on feedback. Sometimes feedback feels good and we just don’t want to push it. Sometimes feedback doesn’t feel good. And we feel defensive or we feel like the person delivering it sort of has ill will against us or doesn’t like us. And so we miss the opportunity in both cases, a potential missed opportunity to really get more constructive feedback that can help us to grow, help us to be better. And that’s why I want to just really point out it’s important to think about the the intent and just to go ahead and assume good intent, assume really great intent as if this person is your cheerleader, your absolute best friend, someone who would be thrilled to help you by telling you even more and giving you even more feedback, whether it’s good or not, that’s what we want.

Ronnie, for example, could have just as easily said, “No, I don’t want you to put that on the website,” and that would have been totally fine. But if I had held back from asking her permission, then I would have been missing out on not only finding out that she really did have a lot of enthusiasm for the program, and would be really delighted to help share the news, but I also would be missing out on the opportunity to have a little bit of a professional asset as a result of that conversation.

So assume good intent on the part of the giver, because you know, that person is spending their own time and their own energy to give you feedback. So whether it feels good in the moment, or it doesn’t feel good in the moment. Either way, just keep in mind that that person is invested to some degree, if you have a business and someone is writing you even a negative review, they are invested to some degree to bother to tell you about this. And they will likely give you a whole lot more if you ask. So if you ask, you can find out more about how you can grow and develop, you can find out more about what you can do differently and better. You can strengthen relationships, if they’re already good, you can help to repair relationships that they’ve started out based on some friction or some misunderstanding.

So assume good intent from the person who is giving you the feedback and respond to them in that way. If it helps you to be more bold to be able to ask for more, more clarification, more detail. Just assume that that person adores you and wants you to succeed. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but assume that and be and respond accordingly. And you’ll get the best results. So that’s tip number one.

Tip number two is to be really deliberate about seeking the right kind of feedback depending on the situation. There’s a great book that I recommend, it’s called Thanks For the Feedback. This is by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen. So in this book, they categorize feedback into three types.

The first one is appreciation or encouragement, which is you know that pat on the back, the second one is coaching, which is advice on how to do stuff better or differently. And the third is evaluation, which is sort of where you stand compared to an ideal set of standards or compared to peers. And this is obviously not the only paradigm for feedback. But that’s the one that I’m thinking about for this next tip. You know, the author’s point out that different situations call for different kinds of feedback. And if you’ve already given your best they say, and you’re totally exhausted, it’s important at that time to get encouragement. And to get appreciation, when you’re totally tapped out getting coached doesn’t really help get you may be unable to avoid being evaluated.

But you know, if you don’t need coaching at that time, then it’s important to be able to recognize that what you need from whoever is giving you the feedback is perhaps some appreciation or encouragement. And it’s okay to ask for that while you are receiving the feedback in its totality, including that coaching. Similarly, if you actually need coaching, because your performance is struggling, just having some cheerful pat on the back, like a great job that does not help, right?

You need to learn specifically, what would make you better and more effective. Even if you don’t like to hear it, people sort of say tough love. So just getting encouragement is not helpful. On the other hand, encouragement is the easiest one to give. So that’s often what we get. And that is going to be my point here is just sort of realize that there’s different kinds of feedback. And some of them are more helpful than others, it is important to be appreciated. And to get encouragement, it feels good fills your cup, you need that right to fill your emotional bucket. And that’s fantastic.

When someone tells you you did a good job at something, or you gave a great presentation or speech or you’re really excellent at, you know, a certain skill that is helpful. Well, I take it back, that’s nice. But it’s not, it’s not necessarily helpful. It’s helpful, perhaps in the way that it shows, you know, through other people’s eyes, what your skill set is, but it doesn’t help you to improve. And it doesn’t help you in a sort of tangible way. Because it’s just too generic, right? It’s not really actionable. And it’s not impactful enough to put on a resume or to put on a sort of an annual review or to use as an interview.

So that’s my segue here into tip three. So to wrap up, you know, tip two is make sure that you are aware of the different kinds of feedback, be attuned to yourself, what kind of feedback you need. And if you’re receiving one kind of feedback when you need the other kind of feedback, remind yourself with tip number one people are they have good intent, they’re already invested, they will give more if you ask. So think about the kind of feedback that you need and ask.

This brings me to tip three which is to be very deliberate about turning other feedback that is favorable or unfavorable into actionable feedback. Remember that when you get good feedback feels great. You might want to just bask in that. But if it’s not exactly helpful, or it’s not exactly concrete, what are you supposed to do with that? And what do I mean by concrete? This is a way I think a lot of people don’t view their feedback. And they really, really should. There’s a lot of concrete reasons that we need feedback, we need it to be specific. And a lot of our work doesn’t really lend itself to metrics, right? You can’t say that you, you know, it came in under budget, or you increase sales or whatever, that’s not what we do.

So when you’re trying to communicate the impact in a sort of objective way, the best you can do, I think, in many situations is to understand how to convert feedback into something that is tangible. And then you can draw upon that tangible feedback, when you are submitting an annual review packet, for example, with your boss, or when you’re submitting a broader portfolio for academic promotion, for example, or you may be able to use it as a testimonial on your business website. Or you may be able to use it as a testimonial, if someone is thinking about hiring you as a speaker or a coach, you can say here’s how other people have viewed working with me.

Or you can have it in your back pocket. You know, figuratively, of course, as an interview question, answer, write a powerful answer to an interview question. When you are asked later to think about a time where you had a certain amount of impact. So it’s really important to gather these things as you go. Because otherwise, of course, you won’t have them when you need them. So when you do get favorable, both feedback, and it’s that encouragement or appreciation, you say something along the lines of you know, thank you, that’s really great to hear.

And then you pivot into something that’s more detailed, so that I can keep doing the right things. Can you be more specific about what I did? Well? Or can you be more specific about what was helpful, the most things like that, that will get people talking. And so you can turn appreciation into a kind of asset, like I described, by helping to solicit the kinds of feedback that are most impactful for you as a professional and also are most helpful to others when they are learning about you. And that’s really the lens that you want to view this through, right?

What are the things that you need for people to tell you in your feedback, things that help you to improve for the future, and things that really capture specifics, so that other people who are evaluating you, your boss, your future colleagues, a potential client, a potential patient, so that they can have really concrete information to think about you again, compared to a standard, or compared to your peers.

As an example of how to operationalize this, at the conclusion of my my main courses, so for example, the branding prescription that CME course, or transformed coming up soon that the mastery retreat for women physicians, we do collect not only as part of the CME requirements, but also just in general feedback at the end from from people who attended. And we don’t just want to have them rank us on a scale of one to five or something and say, you know, that it was that it was fun, or that it was good, or that they learned a lot. That’s nice, but it’s not entirely actionable.

So we ask different questions that are a little bit more specific, and usually promote a deeper discussion. So ask people questions like this. What was the most important thing that you learned in this course? Or what was the most surprising thing that you experienced at this retreat that you weren’t expecting? Or, and this is particularly a good one for things that are more expensive, right? I do have lots of free stuff. As you know, I also have some flagship courses, and they do fall on the pricier side there.

They are really comprehensive. And I know people have hesitations right. So that’s one of the questions I asked my students when they’re done. If you had any hesitations about signing up before you took the course, or before you attended the retreat. What were those? And what helped you decide to go for it? Or how do you feel about those hesitations? Now that you’re done? Not all hesitations, of course, are related to price. Some are related to whether you’ll have time whether it will be worth it. You know, whether my teaching style will jive with them, things like that. I’ve learned those things, obviously, by asking this question. So now I do have a pretty good idea of the kinds of things that make people very interested but kind of hesitant. And that way, I’m able to help provide those folks. Well, here’s what other doctors like you have said,

Now, everyone makes their own decision, of course. But that way, I have actual information to help people when they reach out to me and they say, I’m thinking about signing up. I’d like to go and do this. But here is my concern. That makes it more of an opportunity to share what other people’s experience was, which I think holds more validity, frankly, than just me trying to persuade them that they should take my course or come to my retreat. Other people’s actual results are much more often So you can pop on over and read the testimonials from my students at I will of course link to it in the show notes also

And as a bonus for this episode, I’ve uploaded a two minute video to my website that illustrates what these types of feedback assets look like in action. So please come check them out, I think they will really help you when you think about how to convert someone’s proverbial pat on the back into something that is actionable and is a professional asset.

So in summary, let’s think about what we talked about in this episode. We talked about number one, assume good intent on the part of the giver, and that they will be willing to give you more, I believe you should do this, again, whether the feedback is favorable or unfavorable. In this episode, we’ve talked mostly about favorable feedback.

In the next episode, we’re gonna be talking about unfavorable feedback, and of course how to leverage that as well. It’s really important to do that. But assume that people will give you more and ask for more, it may not always work out all the time. But if someone is bothering to have a conversation with you, or to send you a note, to call you to, you know, wait and come up to you, at the end of your talk, things like that, if they’re bothering to do that, then they’re they’re telling you that they are already a little bit invested. And of course, if it’s your boss, they’re highly invested in your performance. So assume good intent, assume they’ll give you more and ask for that little bit more.

Second, be aware of the different kinds of feedback so that you can be delivered about what you need. And if what you need is coaching. But what you’re getting is encouragement, asked for coaching, if what you need is evaluation, sort of benchmarking comparison to peers or to an ideal performance, ask for that. And then third, take the time in the effort to convert feedback into a professional asset. And again, you can use this for your annual performance review, for a testimonial on your website. for answers to other questions when patients clients, students come to you, asking you specific things about your offerings, you’ll be able to have other people’s words to explain how they experienced it, which is different from you trying to give some kind of a sales pitch, or importantly as an interview question for that next role that you pursue.

Now, if you’ve been listening to this, me saying this in this episode, and you’re like not understanding what that means. This is especially true of non clinical roles. So the behavioral interview again, what Ronnie was talking about, as we opened up this episode, it’s a totally different format than you are probably used to from clinical job interviews, med school interviews, residency interviews, clinical faculty interviews are often just not focused in this way.

But industry interviews are, and although it’s outside the scope of this particular episode, talk about what a behavioral interview is, they’re asking questions, in hopes that you can tell stories that demonstrate specific competencies. And by collecting those stories, or collecting that feedback in that way, now, you’ll have a whole file and again, you may not pull it out and hand it to someone, or you might if it’s an educational portfolio, for example. But it’s important to have collected this kind of feedback as a professional asset for yourself as you’re going through life. Because when the opportunity comes to want to show it, you want to be scrambling around trying to think of circumstances or stories, trying to reach out to people and ask them to remember what it was like, capture these things in the moment.

Of course, as I mentioned, not all feedback is great. So this is a wrap for this episode. But Tune in next week. For the next episode, we are going to be talking about how to make the most of bad feedback or at least feedback that feels bad to you. We’re going to turn it into something that is constructive into something that will help you grow and develop and something that will ultimately be able to be seen as good feedback. Until next time. Thanks for joining me on this episode of the career prescription. Be sure to leave me a review on Apple podcasts or whatever podcast player you’re using to listen today. And definitely send me those questions so I can answer them and give you a shout out on a future episode.

Bye for now.


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