An unscientific theory on feedback

I have a theory (who doesn’t, right?).  It’s not scientific, and it’s not meant to be defensive.  It’s just a personal theory, and I’m sure not everyone will agree with it, but that’s OK.  And here it is… If someone thinks that they could step right into someone else’s job and do it better, then that someone else is probably doing a good job, because they’re making it look easy.  That’s it…pretty simple.  I guess this comes back to two things – that everyone has an opinion, and that sometimes we all need to be reminded that there’s usually more than one means to an end.

And here’s why this is on my mind.  What we do every day in our division is very visible whether it’s the website, a printed publication, a news story, or a special event. Typically, the public sees only the final product – not all the behind the scenes work and preparation that went into it.  We welcome feedback, ideas and constructive criticism.  Some folks give us great feedback, but for every positive message we get, we get an equal number of slams. I should clarify that my idea of a positive message isn’t just “good job” or “I like it” but also “have you thought about doing ______” or even “it would be helpful if _______”.  A slam typically starts with something like “Why in the world did/didn’t you _______” or my personal favorite “You people are so stupid…(usually followed by a detailed explanation of why)”.  I’ve noticed that most of us are usually much more responsive to people when their feedback, whether good or bad, is presented in a nice way instead of a rude way.  Just sayin’!

So I’m just putting this idea out there…when giving someone feedback (especially if it’s unsolicited) on work that they have done or on how they’ve chosen to go about one project or another, keep in mind two things that I said before: 1) everybody has an opinion, and 2) there is usually more than one means to an end.  What you say and how you say it will play a big part in whether or not your feedback/opinion is respected or rejected.

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One thought on “An unscientific theory on feedback

  1. Stacey, you are absolutely correct. My dad was an expert on this type of philosophy, Example, when mom tried a new dish of some type for dinner (we called it supper by the way) she would ask how he liked it, and he might say, it is good but it may be a tad salty, but it’s just the way I like it. One time I asked him why he responded like that? He smiled and said, well I answered her question, and I know that if I just said, it’s too salty, she would say, you make it next time. And I know for certain that I couldn’t make it nearly as good, and I wanted her to keep on cooking for me.

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