Should You be Asking For Feedback?
I got involved in a potential investment recently and then ran it past my financial advisor, who immediately told me to walk away. Initially, I justified continuing with the investment by telling myself he didn’t understand this type of opportunity, he was more of a stocks and shares guy. Then my wife reminded me, why have an advisor and ask his opinion if you are just going to ignore it and she was 100% right, of course.
It reminded me of a moment with my business partner. We were asking for feedback after all our workshops and one thing we asked was for them to order the content in terms of how useful they found each section. He saw something he didn’t like, so started to justify why one particular element was ranked at the bottom. I stopped him. Why ask if we are not going to listen. I also reminded him, it was just one person.
One thing you learn quickly with usability lab work, I ran a user experience business a few years back, once you get six people, then you have a significant level of information you can act on. Online, the key when you have a small sample is focusing on free text forms more than the poll style feedback in surveys. With this approach, you spot patterns of feedback quickly and can react. You don’t push people down the route you want to hear, you let them say anything and if you get patterns here, you know its meaningful and you must listen. The chances of two or three separate people all making the same observation and it is wrong, that’s pretty slim.
When Not to Ask For Feedback
Of course, you don’t have to ask for feedback, it’s perfectly ok to believe 100% in your own plan. If you are that person, with such a passion for what you are doing, then don’t waste time, because you have the opposite effect, asking for information you are not going to listen to could offend your customers and certainly will waste your time and potentially frustrate you.
When I say a passion, this is when you know exactly what you want to do. You are launching something new, totally different. So will people understand that until it’s complete? Maybe not. As the popular story goes, if Ford listened to customers, we’d all be riding on faster horses and not driving cars.
This works for new innovation. It works if you have a single vision you are determined to get out. But remember, once you do get that out, once you get some initial traction, maybe that’s the time to start getting feedback. But only if you are prepared to act on it!