Feedback Is a Gift

If you've read enough startup books, you'll know how important "iterating" is. Basically, you launch your startup with an MVP (minimal viable product—the basic product minus bells and whistles) and then use customer feedback to "iterate" and improve on the MVP. This means that you don't have to spend time and money perfecting something, only to have to change it when no one is interested in your version of perfect. So the startup world has realized that feedback is a gift and have integrated this into how they operate.

This unfortunately is not always the case for the rest of the business world, nor necessarily outside of the product lifecycle even in startups.

For my first Actionable Book Summary, I read Learn Like a Leader by Marshall Goldsmith, Ken Shelton, and Beverly Kaye. It was a very inspiring read both because of what the greats they interviewed shared about their personal learning journey, but also because it showed me that great leaders do realize they have to keep learning. Jim Collins went so far as to recommend learning be the objective, not the means to an end. I highly recommend the book and you can read my summary here.

I started out as a teacher and have continued to read, take courses, and mentor. As several leaders mentioned in Learn Like a Leader, you often learn as much from your students as they do from you. But I consider it common sense to keep learning: to observe what is working and what is not, to ask for feedback, and then to iterate. To get honest feedback is rare, but if you are lucky enough to get it, recognize it as the gift it is and do something constructive with it.

No one is perfect and no one can know everything. If you try to excel at everything, you will actually accomplish less and not excel at anything. So we all need to learn from those we work with, regardless of our career level or theirs.

For my Actionable Books Bio, I was asked to choose a motto. This was more difficult than I would have expected given I have strong opinions on lots of things, but to boil all that down to one or two sentences? That took time and thought. Below is what I eventually chose:

Keep it simple. What you're doing either works or it doesn't and if it doesn't, try something else—and ask for feedback. This applies to the service you're selling and to the people you're managing.

Have you been fortunate to get feedback that helped you succeed?