Feedback and Self-Awareness

We hear nonstop about how valuable feedback is to build our self-awareness.

So I cast the net and asked more than a hundred FranklinCovey associates, vendors, and contractors to tell me what it’s like to work with me.

I asked them to send unvarnished feedback. Perhaps that was naive given my tenure and stature in the firm, but I did sincerely ask for feedback to build my self-awareness. This took some courage as I intentionally sent it to a wide swath of people who I know are either supporters, detractors, or perhaps both depending on the day or project. After twenty-five years in the firm, I know I have people who love me and loathe me. News flash: you do too!

I sent an email and within ninety minutes, here’s what I received back.

My publishing deadline for the blog necessitated that I only include the first few dozen. I am quite certain more will come in throughout the day…But here’s what I got:

  • Scott truly loves doing what he does, and his positive attitude spreads to everyone he interacts with.
  • Never a dull moment.
  • Scott is the "I" when there is no "I" in the word team.
  • Working for Scott Miller is a high-energy, fast-paced, “let's get it done and get it done right and together” experience!
  • Fast-paced. Intense. Results-driven.
  • Working with Scott brings a level of energy, quality, and urgency that is rarely seen. The energy and quality are exciting and something people are drawn to. Sometimes urgency can create chaos where chaos doesn’t need to exist, which is not good. On the other hand, with the urgency, you know Scott can turn things around in a really short period of time.
  • He and I are “oil and water.”
  • You have a bias for action and results. You seize every opportunity.
  • Exciting and nervous, freeing, and collaborative.
  • Scott is a perfectionist.
  • Working with Scott forces me to elevate my game! I appreciate his style. He comes to the table with grand ideas and moves fast. This requires me to come to the table with an open mind, a strong grasp of the “ask” at hand, and prepared. At the onset of our relationship, that was a bit intimidating, yet it made me work harder, learn to articulate my thoughts more clearly, and eventually be better at my role!
  • Scott is the embodiment of “courage and consideration.” He can be counted on to be completely forthright in a conversation about a weakness of mine and yet leave me feeling encouraged and empowered.
  • I would describe Scott Miller as a caring and loving father and husband primarily. As a professional associate, his work ethic, brisk attitude, and “we can do this!” approach has ruffled feathers in the past, but his work continues to move our company forward in a way/style/drive that has always been unique. I think Scott has become much more aware of the effect he has on others since the arrival of his little criminals (oops, sorry: children. 😊) 
  • It’s like climbing a mountain and he’s your guide—it’s hard and it’s arduous and it’s exhausting. But you follow his lead and achieve the summit. And you’re filled with exhilaration and pride and Scott cheers and tells you he knew you could do it the whole time and he announces it to the world and has a whole celebration in your honor. And then you look up and see the next higher peak and you want to do hard and arduous and exhaustion all over again because he’s just that kind of leader.
  • Not a boring moment with Scott Miller. He keeps me on my toes, and I love every minute of it. His excitement is contagious. Scott asks for a lot--but he generously gives a lot, too.
  • Scott is like bottled lightning—captivating to watch in action and almost impossible to contain.
  • High energy and motivational. It is hard to not be pulled into Scott’s energy and is contagious.
  • At different times, it can be extremely energizing, inspiring, challenging, and really good fun to work with Scott Miller.
  • Scott is self-centered when presenting achievements versus inclusive of what his broader team does and achieves. Scott is driven by self-focus as opposed to the greater good.
  • Working with Scott Miller is like being a thrill seeker and finding yourself in front of the world’s fastest rollercoaster. The disclaimers and disclosures on getting on the ride are clear—he owns his mess. The ride will be exhilarating and extremely fast-paced, so you better keep up. Most importantly, you know the ride will deliver—BIG—and that you will end the ride with the exact feeling—or outcome—you were seeking from the get-go. 
  • Scott really pushes me to think out of the box. After rolling my eyes as he rattles off ideas, I find myself highly engaged in the synergy. We have a healthy debate about why it will or won’t work…and then he is off to polish it off! Usually the idea he started with, just slightly refined.
  • Working with Scott Miller is…exhilarating! It’s creative and crazy and the best of times, and we always complete whatever project, but the journey has a touch of madness getting there.
  • I remember being at a conference when you were the director of marketing (I think), and you hosted a very interactive breakout session. Complete with Scott memorabilia. To this day, I cannot remember the purpose of the breakout.
  • To this day, it amazes me how you remember names, and use a person’s name to acknowledge their mere presence or contribution to the discussion. Scott, this is a skill that very few people authentically have, and you have it.
  • Working with Scott Miller is always filled with surprises.
  • Working for Scott Miller is fun, exciting, energizing, exhausting, frustrating, and enlightening.
  • Working with Scott Miller requires quick thinking, precision/clarity of language, and economy of words, because the pace is always quick, and the time and attention is often short. In my case, he often asks questions that feel important, of consequence to my career, but I rarely feel like I have enough time to really think through the best response.     
  • Energetic and supportive, a true partner in collaborating and working toward producing great work.
  • If you need support from a manager, you got it with Scott.  The ride with Scott is hard to sustain.
  • Working with Scott is a burst of energy—he never speaks or acts slowly. Sometimes it lights my fire and sometimes I’m exhausted. A fireball with a superb vocabulary. 
  • Working with Scott Miller is like being on a rollercoaster.
  • So if you asked me this question several years ago when you were heading up marketing, I would say exhausting—the idea fountain so to speak! 😊 However today, I truly enjoy working with you as I believe you have become a lot more self-aware. 
  • Scott Miller always asks a lot of everyone around him and then gives back even more.
  • Scott is brilliant, charismatic, and a true force of nature—yet humble enough to reflect and take feedback when it's offered. As one with an elevated bias for action, I'm continually in awe of how quickly you move and how much ground you cover in short periods of time. It's truly inspiring, and I'm a better person for coming to know you. Simultaneously, your intensity can be a bit scary. Fortunately, I'm not one who scares or offends easily, but when circumstances get heavy, the brashness you can bring in a response is not for the faint of heart. I've found it critical to look through the storm of the response for the core intention—and while generally on point, I think there's an opportunity to temper your reaction. You're the best thing (if not THE best, one of the top 3) to happen to me this year.
  • High energy. 
  • Working with Scott requires an agile mind, a willingness to accept rapid change, and a thick skin when he is going so fast that he doesn’t remember that not everyone works the way he does.
  • Scott takes care of his employees, has a passion for excellence, has high expectations, and is strategic in what he does.
  • Working with Scott is like getting into a two-seat paddle boat together only to realize you have foot pedals and Scott a 500 HP outboard motor—and your task is to keep up.
  • Put simply, Scott Miller is a creative hurricane! He brings out the best in my work, and we always get the results we were both looking for. He is a true friend!
  • Work with Scott is always an exhilarating wild ride. I have known Scott for many years and have always loved working with Scott. His style is often bold and can sometime be irreverent, but every time I have gone to Scott for help with a challenge or an opportunity, I always come away excited and energized. Scott truly raises the level of thinking and ideas to new heights. He is unafraid and willing to make the impossible happen.
  • Working for Scott Miller was never lacking for being interesting, challenging, frustrating, entertaining, and fun.
  • Scott is critical when it is needed and when it isn’t as well.
  • Working with Scott is like working in a whirlwind. He is fast, decisive, and knows what he wants. In his field of expertise, he has keen insight into what works and what doesn’t work, and he makes sure his team is going in the right direction. He is difficult to reach and sometimes not responsive. Scott is fun, irreverent, and bold. 
  • Scott sets the bar for excellence and inspires everyone around him to do the same. 
  • Energetic, witty, highly engaging, smart, creative.
  • Energy and charisma. No matter what the topic is, Scott can make it engaging. 
  • Scott is a leader who demands clarity, execution, and excellence in exchange for being led by someone who is crazy brilliant, extremely transparent, and very loyal. His commitment and contribution to our work has and continues to be vital to our success, personally and professionally! The pace at which he leads is frenetic but is extremely exhilarating. You are always thinking ahead of what he might think, say, or ask. And that type of leadership is NEVER boring!
  • High energy and never a dull moment!
  • Hot and cold—not sure where I stand at any given moment.
  • Working with Scott typically is some combination of energetic, frenetic, stimulating, loud, and urgent.
  • I have never known someone as serious about seeking out feedback and acting on it. 

You have the courage today to do the same? And when the emails start pouring in, what will you do about what’s written?

In addition to sharing it with the world through this blog, here is what I’m doing:

  1. Thanking everyone for their feedback, especially the negative ones. It takes courage to share critical feedback and we should reward it, especially when we ask for it.
  2. Focusing on one or two trends that stand out to me. Maybe it’s regarding attitude, expectations, or actions. Thinking of ways to do things differently, to get the same results, but without the same relational consequences. (I’m focusing on dialing in my strength of intensity, to be aware of when I’m applying too much, and how it’s fatiguing for some people.)
  3. Copying and pasting all of the feedback I receive and putting it into a wordcloud generator Printing the resulting image and keeping it somewhere handy. I'll check back with it for motivation and to stay on course with the changes I choose to implement.

Maybe you don’t want to share the feedback you receive with the world, but I’d still love to see your word cloud! Share it on social and tag me, you can find my links below in my bio.

Taking initiative in small, specific ways can help you reach your goals—for your team, your career, and your life. Download our latest guide to learn 7 ways to be more proactive - powered by The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®.

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Releases, Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights From Our Greatest Minds, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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