‘I said left!... Great now we’re lost!’… #149 in the real world | Blue Sky

‘I said left!… Great now we’re lost!’… #149 in the real world

Sound like a familiar conversation? How do you set up your employees for success? I’m going to start this blog with two different scenarios and we’ll focus on #149 and #15 – how to give and receive criticism.

One is a life situation, the other is based in a work environment. Try to spot the similarities as you read!

Scenario One

It’s a gorgeous sunny day and you’re driving to your favourite hiking spot in the New Forest. You have your wonderful partner/friend/offspring in the passenger seat next to you. With ‘Sweet Caroline’ blasting from your car speakers, you suddenly realise you’ve missed the turning to your destination.


You kindly ask your passenger to pull out the map from your glove compartment. Being the lovely human being they are, they oblige and start to figure out how to get to your destination. The first thing they point out is where you went wrong… that wrong turn you took a couple miles back and apparently, it’s all your fault. They tell you the next few instructions to get you back on the path to your destination, but you forget one of the directions…

‘I said left! . . . Great, now we’re lost!’

Scenario Two

You settle into your cushy chair at work and take your first sip of luscious caffeine to get the day off to a cracking start. You check your diary and notice you have a performance review with your manager. Wanting to be on time (to remind them of your amazing time keeping skills), you head to the meeting room 5 minutes early.

Your manager walks in, places down their notes on the table and starts off with some small talk. ‘How are the kids?’, ‘Good weekend?’.

‘So, I can see you haven’t hit target again this month…’

Somewhere in the distance I can hear Sally Earnshaw face palming.

This is not how conversations should go, in either scenario.

What you’ll notice is that the failure to make target is the first thing to be pointed out to this poor individual (lets name him Bob). Bob was having a great day in both these situations until the point where he was #15’d (as we like to say at Blue Sky).

In other words, he’s given the bad news without any acknowledgement of any of the good stuff he’s done or without any advice around what he’s aiming for. Confused about what I’m talking about? Here’s a video of how our #149 tool works.

Becks Festival of Work: #149 from Blue Sky on Vimeo.

What have we found? You’ll get so much more from people by recognising their positive behaviours and achievements, and by giving them clarity around what you expect (i.e. setting the destination point).

What should have happened in each scenario?

Driving in the forest, concentrate on how to reroute the person to the destination. Pointing out the mistakes they’ve already made will just lead to frustration. Recalculate how to arrive at your desired location. Every time a correct turn is made offer Bob a form of praise, and reiterate how close the hiking point is. This way Bob can think clearly, feel good about being on the way to the correct location and has a clear time or distance scale to reach the destination.

At work, Bob’s manager should be congratulating him on the progress he has made towards his target. By explaining the behaviours and actions he would like to see and recognizing the hard work he has completed over the past month, an environment will be created that will allow Bob to feel comfortable asking for help when needed. In this case Bob has clear clarity on actions to take away as well as a clear path towards his goal!

Take-away activity

How can you apply this to your workplace? Simple. Read the 2 previous emails you sent. Were you using #149 or just #15? Send your results to info@blue-sky.co.uk.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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