Flip is a Live Online Learning Activity (LOLA) that is based on a creativity technique called Double Reversal. Here is the basic idea behind this technique: You present an upside-down goal that is the opposite of what you really want to achieve. You invite the participants to brainstorm strategies for achieving this upside-down goal. These strategies will produce undesirable results. You then take each of these strategies and flip it around. The flipped version will turn out to be a strategy for achieving the desirable (right-side-up) goal.
Recently, I designed an interactive webinar on how to give feedback. The description below is related to this topic.
To discuss and apply strategies for giving useful feedback.
20 to 30 minutes
The webinar platform should permit the display of slides. It should also include a chat box that permits the participants to type their responses.
Prepare a slide. Come up with an upside-down question related to some aspect of your training topic. Type this question on a slide for use in your webinar.
Here is the question we used: How can we make sure that our feedback produces negative reactions on the part of the receiver?
Prepare sample responses. Come up with a few sample responses to your own question. It will be a good idea to ask your friends to generate these samples. You will use these responses later during the webinar to demonstrate the flipping procedure.
Here are five sample responses to the question:
- Give the feedback in a disappointed tone of voice.
- Prepare a long list of feedback on different behaviors. Have a meeting with the employee and dump your list of feedback comments.
- Surprise the person by giving negative feedback at unexpected moments in public. The resulting embarrassment will motivate the person to change his or her behavior.
- Generalize the unacceptable behavior in global terms: You have always been an irresponsible person.
- Give feedback on personality characteristics that irritate you (but have nothing to do with the job performance): I don’t like introverts. You are one of them.
Practice flipping the response. Take one of the responses and flip it around so that it becomes a strategy for achieving the desirable (right-side-up) goal. Try to come up with more than one flipped response.
Here is the original response:
Generalize the unacceptable behavior in global terms.
Here are three flipped responses:
- Identify a specific behavior when you give your feedback.
- Focus on a single behavior that occurred recently.
- Avoid using words like “always” and “never”.
Create two groups. Divide the webinar participants into two approximately equal-sized groups. The easiest way to do this is to tell the participants that they belong to the Blue Group if their last name begins with the letters A through M. The remaining participants belong to the Red Group.
Ask the upside-down question. Briefly introduce the topic. Display the slide with the upside-down question.
Ask the participants to respond to the question. Reassure them that the question is intentionally worded the way it is presented. Explain that based on your previous research, webinar participants become energized when they are asked to come up with negative, destructive responses. Encourage the participants to generate as many responses to the question as possible and to type them in the chat box. Tell them that only the members of the Blue Group need to respond to this item. Ask the members of the Red Group to review the responses. Announce a 2-minute time limit.
Select a response. At the end of 2 minutes, ask the participants to stop typing. Congratulate them on their ability to take on a mean persona. Select one of the responses that is similar to the response you have been flipping earlier.
Explain and demonstrate the flipping technique. Tell the participants that you are going to take each of the responses and turn it around completely. Demonstrate this technique by flipping the selected response. Point out that the same response could yield more than one flip. Ask the participants to suggest additional flips. Also point out that the flipped responses suggest strategies for achieving the desirable (right-side-up) goal.
Ask the participants to flip other responses. Tell the participants that it is now the Red Group’s turn. Invite them to choose any of the responses typed earlier by the Blue Group and flip it. Encourage them to flip the same response repeatedly. Suggest a 2-minute time limit.
Invite participants to make a personal selection. Stop the flipping at the end of 2 minutes. Briefly discuss some of the flipped ideas. Ask the participants to review the different flipped responses and select one of them for personal implementation in the near future.
Conclude the session. Thank the participants for their contributions. Transition to the next topic of the webinar.