Are you open to some feedback?

When is the last time a company that you do business with and spend money with asked you for some real feedback? And I don’t mean in some automated survey that you knew they never did anything with? And when is the last time a company that you do business with actually took the feedback you gave them and changed anything?

People equate feedback today with bitching, complaining, or moaning. They don’t equate it with the lifeblood for future referrals, satisfied customers that become advocates, or anything that has real merit to it. People have become so sensitive and so emotional to what they do that they don’t want to hear any idea or how it could be better. Ask yourself right now how often after or during an exchange with you that you elicit feedback and better yet the last time you took it and made a change in something? You should crave feedback. You should seek out feedback. You should want constant communication on how you can take something and make it better.

I realize feedback is an opinion and that opinion is either trusted or it’s not. I realize that when a person gets feedback that is counter to other feedback it could be isolated but there sometimes is a grain of truth in the feedback people are giving. Is that feedback falling on good soil?

I used to have zero tolerance for feedback as a young and arrogant coach. I used to keep my players over after practices for an hour while their parents sat in the parking lots just waiting on me to finish. My philosophy was, “When we get it right then we will finish so there is no hard stop.” One day a parent said to me, “Coach, one of these days when you have children and you have to sit in the parking lot for an extra hour you’re going to go crazy.” He was right. Now that I have a daughter if I had to sit there an extra hour after it was supposed to be over I probably would go crazy. I needed to hear that feedback.

Here’s what we are looking for and should be seeking out:

  1. Honest feedback throughout the process that can only be shared in trusting environments where the other person feels comfortable sharing. I don’t want to know what you say on a survey. I want it face to face.
  2. A mental toughness and emotional intelligence on our part to seek out and want to hear both the good and bad feedback. The good fuels us and the bad re-calibrates us.
  3. A willingness to value the feedback and make a change or improvement.

Life is a series of actions and re-calibrations. It’s a series of starts and stops. It’s a series of failures and successes. Without feedback we just keep hitting the reset button and make very small if any improvements. You don’t want small improvements. You want big improvements. You want quantum leaps.

We should be using our work as learning laboratories. We should want to grow and improve. At the end of our lives many of us will be remembered by and through the distribution of our talents and for many that comes through our work.

Here’s some feedback for you, ask for and make changes when people give you some today. Let’s call it feed forward.

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