030 The secret to getting great feedback

Your next beginning deserves better feedback. In this episode we explore why feedback is important and how to get it.

The secret to getting great feedback

This episode’s Inspire Me quote is from Elon Must, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors:

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”

When it comes to feedback, many of us err in two ways. We may either choose not to seek it, thinking we have to perfect our thinking before we share it; or we seek in indiscriminately from others because we don’t want to do the hard work for ourselves. Allowing ourselves to be overly swayed by the crowd is beautifully captured in this Onion video parody.

Leary and Armin discuss three reasons why intentionally seeking feedback is important:

  1. Gives validation to a new path. We are designed for a purpose and we need others to help us discover ours.
  2. Speeds learning. We don’t have enough time to make every mistake. And one of the biggest is to assume that others think they way we do.
  3. Connection to new communities. Requesting feedback invites others to be part of your team. They become allies to connect you to their network.

Five ways to intentionally get great feedback on what’s next in your life:

  1. Create a specific purpose for the feedback. Seek different feedback from different people. Consider grouping people into one of three teams. Your critical team are those (like yourself and your spouse/family) that your direction needs to be in alignment with. Then, your closest friends, mentors, etc, may form your advisory team. You get feedback from this team—not for alignment—but to check your thinking. Finally, the purpose for a third team,the domain team, is to different from the others. From this group of people, comprised of experts, practitioners and, possibly, customers, you want feedback to evaluate your fit.
  2. Develop a learning mindset. Someone once said, “If you are afraid of criticism, say nothing; do nothing; be nothing.” Neither negative or positive feedback is about you, though it might feel that way. “Freedom,” as someone put it, “is facing criticism or praise and having the same reaction.”
  3. Get personal. Don’t invite feedback via mass email. Call or arrange a meeting. If you show it’s important, the person you are asking for feedback from will think so too.
  4. Switch chairs. Many people naturally give feedback based on their own aspirations. Get them on your side of the table. Tell them your aspirations and ask what they would do if they had that aspiration. Then go to their side of the table and tell them your fiercest criticism of your plan and ask them to top it.
  5. Close the loop. Do more than just thank those who gave you feedback. Follow up at a later time to let them know what you took to heart and how you applied to your life.

The Challenge Me for this episode is to write the most challenging and threatening questions you can think of to ask someone about a change you are contemplating.

Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:

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We look forward to hearing from you!

2 thoughts on “030 The secret to getting great feedback

  1. Hello Leary and Armin

    I have been working my way through all of the podcasts, and I think they are very interesting and full of good insights. I have just listened to episode 30, and was surprised to hear you talking about learning to see success and failure equally. Rudyard Kipling called them “imposters”. Here is a little bit out of his poem “If”.

    If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

    Best wishes and keep up the good work.


    • Thanks Alistair. I love that poem and my kids have memorized it. Appreciate you reminding me of it. Obviously, I’m the only one in the family who didn’t commit it to memory. 🙂

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