Common Experiences with Dot Collector

I am struggling to give feedback in real-time. I get distracted when dotting in a meeting and lose track of the conversation.

  • Generally the best time to dot is in the moment. Sharing your feedback openly and in real-time ensures that you don’t lose the thought, and allows those receiving the feedback to decide how to respond to it on the fly. There are various ways to use dots in a meeting without making them a distraction. People often observe that once they get into the habit of dotting throughout their meetings, the behavior quickly becomes second-nature. In fact, they say that leaving feedback during meetings can actually make them more engaged as participants rather than mere observers. 

  • That said, you should do what seems natural for you. That might include: 
    1. Encourage the person leading the meeting to pause periodically, like when topics shift or at the end of the meeting, to allow time for dotting without losing focus.
    2. Allow yourself time at the end of the day to reflect on any feedback you may have had that you did not give yet, and give it then. Often people find that as they are focused during the day, they sometimes forget, and it’s easier to set aside a few minutes for reflection and dotting. 

I am struggling to pick the right attributes

  • The attributes are there to simplify giving feedback on common meeting behaviors and traits - don’t get hung up on the particulars. Pick the attribute that best captures the essence of your feedback and clarify any nuances in your comments as needed. If none of the default attributes resonate, remember that you can always select the “Other” attribute and use the comments section to elaborate.

I am hesitant to share feedback.

  • That’s okay, it gets easier with practice. One common reason for why people hesitate, especially with constructive dots, is because they are not sure if their perspective is right or they don’t want to prompt a negative/defensive response that may deteriorate the quality of their relationship. 
    • Think of a dot not as a conclusion, but as an observation at a particular point in time. In your dot comment, set the context by pointing out when in the meeting a specific behavior occurred: “While I was presenting the product roadmap…”  Then explain clearly what you saw or heard: “... I noticed that three times you asked questions about the update I had already covered…” Lastly, describe the impact / how the behavior made you think and feel: “... It left me feeling like you weren’t paying attention and not mindful of everyone’s time.”  Remember to share your observations in an open-minded manner and offer to have a follow-up conversation.
    • Dots can be questions too - feel free to say, “I’m not sure but I wanted to share…”

I disagree with a dot I’ve received

  • When this happens, there are two key principles to remember.
    • First, a “dot is just a dot” - what matters is how they add up over time. Keep that perspective in mind and try not to “over-squeeze” dots. Decide for yourself on how much learning you can get out of any one dot without overweighing it.
    • Second, know that it is hard to be objective about oneself and that feedback from others can help you understand what you may do differently. Seek to understand the other person’s perspective by approaching a conversation with them open-mindedly. Most times, a brief conversation can lead to important learning for both parties, and it will further the process of better understanding yourself and others.

I don’t feel comfortable giving feedback, especially to people who are more senior

  • In a growth-oriented company, the company leaders will strive to create an environment where everyone is encouraged to raise problems and share their feedback openly. Remember that managers can also benefit greatly from knowing where they can be doing better. If this is a concern, a good place to start is to have an open conversation with your manager about giving them feedback and what’s holding you back. Have the goal of the conversation be ways that your manager can support you on your feedback journey.

I’m not getting enough feedback

  • Remind your team to give dots at the beginning of your meetings and actively solicit their feedback. If applicable, be concrete about attributes you’re seeking feedback on - e.g. if you’re working on your communication skills, ask your audience to leave you dots in reference to specific instances from your contributions where you did well or how you can improve. You might also encourage others by giving them your feedback.

  • To get insightful feedback try asking the following questions:

    1. How could I be approaching my work to achieve better outcomes/improve my performance?
    2. Is there anything I could be doing better or differently to add more value to the team?
    3. Is there anything you’ve noticed that is standing in the way of my success?

I’m not giving enough feedback. I’m struggling to build the habit.

  • Openly seek to understand why you’re not dotting the way you should be. Reflect on what barriers may be in your way and set concrete dotting targets for yourself to get around them. Have an “accountability buddy” - share your dotting goals with one or two of your trusted colleagues and encourage them to hold you accountable to good dotting habits.

I am too busy and don’t have time to dot.

  • When people say “I don’t have time,” what they often really mean is that they either haven’t made time, that they don’t want to make time or that they’re not willing to sacrifice any of their current priorities in order to make room for this one. Reflect whether any of these may be at play or what other barriers may be in your way. 

  • If it’s difficult to dedicate time/block off time for dotting, try to get in the habit of real-time dotting and don’t overcomplicate things - convey the essence rather than all the details. In your comments, provide just enough context to your dot and allow it to be a conversation starter.

There aren’t enough opportunities to use the Dot Collector app on my team / in my company.

  • Discuss and agree on specific use cases for the use of the Dot Collector app to establish a candid feedback culture on your team. You may choose to start with a small set of use cases that address your immediate feedback challenges and consider additional ones with time. 

  • Some common use opportunities: 

    • Acknowledge a team member’s contribution
    • Provide coaching to a team member on a growth opportunity
    • Share your feedback in everyday interactions with your team members - for example, if collaborating on a project or brainstorming an idea, how well did they contribute? What impact did they have?
    • Ask for feedback after you lead a meeting or give a presentation
    • When you have a 1:1 with your manager, ask them to capture their feedback on your performance as dots
    • Ask for feedback to see where you can improve - whether delivery of a presentation, your contributions to a project or the quality of content/work product itself