My husband’s family are great at wrapping presents; they have the art of disguising the real content of a parcel down to a tee. Even gifts of cash for grandchildren come in large boxes. That way you never can be sure what’s beneath the wrapping paper.
I think feedback is a lot like this. When people give feedback about their care experiences they often have thought carefully how to wrap up, carefully, what they want to express. They give it as a gift – most often they say because they don’t want the same thing to happen to someone else, or they want to express thanks for an event that surpassed their expectations. They carefully wrap the gift in the words. It’s hard to choose how to express those words – just like carefully wrapping a present.
I’ve blogged before about how often services respond to these ‘gifts’. I think it’s often a response to the size of the parcel, when in fact they need to open the gift more carefully, examine what is inside and look at it with fresh eyes, irrespective of the wrapping.
It’s cliched maybe to say feedback is a gift but that is exactly what I believe. If we were to consider more carefully what people were saying and hear what they were expressing it would help us to focus on what we might need to do better, or what we are good at.
To do this we need to be able to unpick what feedback means; tune in to the real messages and focus on ‘what next?’.
For me that’s the real beauty of Care Opinion. It creates a perfect place for this to happen. The feedback is volunteered not sought, so its wrapping is most carefully expressed. The giver of the gift really wants it to make a difference and wants staff to hear what they have to say. So, working with feedback in teams seems to me to be a no-brainer and that’s exactly what Care Opinion are seeking to do.
I know that if I was still a ward sister I would want to receive those gifts and would be anxious to look carefully at what was inside rather than just reacting to the size of the parcel.
I am delighted to have been asked to be a Non-Executive Director for Care Opinion and I will continue to help them create ways that people can offer the gift of feedback and work on how the service and individuals respond.
My wrapping is so poor, that it not so much disguises the presenting, but distracts the recipient. I’m unsure whether there is any useful reflection or feedback in placing this in your metaphor!
I have carefully tried to share feedback as a patient (encouraged by you x) and worked with feedback as a professional. The ‘wrapping up’ has always been a part of this process. In 2014 I was introduced to horse assisted development. This unique experience of working with feedback on behaviour removes the wrapping up. The feedback is immediate, without judgement and provides specific direction for improvement. All delivered through the senses of a horse. It is remarkable and very worthy of exploration. Our local opportunity to access this is http://www.glint.org.uk a place I have, since learning of this work, started to volunteer at.
And with gifts you have to unwrap them carefully; think about the thought that went into its choice and the thinking that led to it being given to you; you have to consider your reaction and your response and how the very act of giving deserves thanks….genuine thanks……
Great blog Annie x