In our education system we are taught to focus on the weaknesses and the defects. That is the way we are being rated. The focus is on what is wrong, not on what is right. For example, you have 3 faults out of 10. We don’t say you have 7 good out of 10.
The same negative focus is part of the performance review process. In one of my first formal reviews, my manager talked for 50 minutes about things, which could be improved. So, I thought that I would receive an insufficient rating and I did become scared. However, to my big surprise I did receive a ‘Usually Exceeds Requirements’ rating! I still do feel the surprise and above all the negative feeling.
This way of giving feedback is especially damaging in innovation. As you are starting something new it is of course wise to receive all kinds of feedback (positive and negative) but you must not have the feeling that you can better stop with your new project.
It is important to understand:
- - Who did give the feedback and how representative this person is for the target group?
- - Is it a minor improvement or a major change which is required?
- - How did the majority feel about your innovation? Please note that only a few will give formal feedback. So, you have to approach the others and ask for it.
- - Is the feedback focused on making the offering better?
- - What is needed to make it perfect?
If you have just sown some grass seeds and the small grass is just popping up, do you let someone with big boots run over you new grass? No, of course not! But you really would like to hear from him how to make your grass go faster, isn’t it?!
So, be careful with feedback and use it in the right way and don’t let you get distracted from the goal.
Enthusiasm drives Excellence!