This month, we start with a sanity tip when receiving feedback: Apply the “1 percent” rule. This rule states that 1 percent, maybe 2 percent at the most, is all you really need to take away from any feedback. The “1 percent” you’re taking away from the discussion is the real gift that feedback provides.
Feedback is, generally speaking, well-intentioned and provides an insightful view—all too frequently into the person who is offering the feedback. Feedback is not always of the same caliber, nor is it necessarily on point when it’s delivered. The 1 percent rule is not about hearing what one wants to hear, nor is it dismissing feedback as something that’s useless. A “1 percent” perspective is not haphazard; it is about bringing a laser focus to the feedback. Feedback must be sifted to be useful, so how does one find the 1, maybe 2 percent, of the conversation that is genuinely helpful?
You must do some internal work to know who you are and how you can honor what you care about. Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, they lay the foundation of your “1 percent” perspective. Feedback that speaks to and supports perspective is worthwhile. If feedback does not resonate with you and your sense of your truest self, it likely falls into the 99 percent of feedback that is of little value. Ignore it.
It might be tempting to fight, stress, and strain against feedback. This is an unproductive waste of time and energy. Don’t fight it—see what it’s telling you. What can you learn in this present moment? If feedback doesn’t present meaningful learning and help you live as your truest self, ignore it.
When feedback rings true, it can be useful in identifying concrete steps to more closely align with your truest self. Remember that you have the power of choice. Others may suggest, make a request, or outright challenge you. But any change you make is your choice.
If feedback helps release blocks such as a lack of confidence due to lack of knowledge and experience or diminishing paralysis due to fear of the unknown, welcome it. You are being empowered to be your truest self.
The 1 percent to keep in mind with feedback is as old as Polonius himself: “To thy own self, be true.”
Joe Abel, CPCC, ACC, PhD, is HFMA’s director of career strategies. He is certified as a professional career coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Coaches Training Institute (CTI).