Get a Reality Check by rajeshbhandari2012


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									Develop a practice of getting feedback from as many sources as possible. Be sure to zero in on those
areas where you can least afford to have a blind spot.

A reality check is like going to the Doctor for a check-up. It's uncomfortable being probed. It's
anxiety-provoking waiting for test results, but at least you know what you're dealing with. If there is bad
news, you are generally in better shape finding out before a potential problem gets aggravated.

You can get a reality check anytime you test your assumptions about what is going on around you. For
example, a business needs information about what their customer really wants. At work, you will need
some feedback from those people who will have the greatest impact on your success. At home, you
need to know how the people who are closest to you are feeling about you.

Getting frequent reality checks helps you cut through your own illusions and ultimately be much better
equipped to deal with what is really going on. You get the chance to see if you're distorting reality in a
way that could leave you vulnerable to unnecessary damage.

Even though a reality check may be initially uncomfortable, the process gets easier with time. When you
get used to dealing with what is really going on around you (rather than your untested assumptions)
your relationship with reality gets friendlier. You may even find yourself fascinated by the often
surprising ways that other people respond to you. This puts you in a great position to learn.

To participate in this kind of fascinated learning, you'll have to stay open. This means calming down any
defensiveness so you can really take in the feedback. Then the learning is much more interesting.

Karla, the leader of a multi-million dollar sales organization found herself in a totally new position after a
big organizational shake up. Since the new position was very challenging, with less immediate reward
but higher potential for advancement, she was unsure about her manager's motives in moving her to
the new position.

Even though it was a lateral move, she wasn't sure if her manager intended it as a promotion or as a
demotion. She didn't know if he put her in the new position because he respected her potential or if it
was because he was dissatisfied in some way. She was chewing on this for weeks, when it became clear
that she needed a reality check.
She had a candid conversation with her manager where she asked for his reasons and clarified his view
of her future. It was very reassuring to hear that he was highly invested in her leadership potential and
saw this new position as providing the necessary challenges for her development. Her manager also
pointed out a blind spot in her ability to collaborate. Karla's response to the conversation was initially
mixed but she quickly assimilated the information. The reality check helped her settle into the new role
and to wholeheartedly take on the challenges.

If you're proactive and get a reality check when you need to, you'll be able to catch any troublesome
blind spots. The new information can help you test out your assumptions, expectations and concerns.
This ensures that you're really on track with your best efforts.

Action steps:

1. Evaluate where you need feedback the most. Look at the most strategic areas and where the
information gaps are the greatest. Then create a plan to get the feedback you need.

2. Ask your best friend how you could be a better friend.

3. Ask your spouse or partner what they most want from you that you have rarely provided.

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