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Personal Development

Where Is Your Feedback Loop?

By David Ackert on April, 5 2013

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David Ackert

You got plenty of it in school. It's part of what made you so smart—the evaluative and often corrective feedback you received from your professors (when you weren't partying). So, what's making you smarter now?

The moment we tell ourselves that our learning curve has flattened out, we become blind to our shortcomings and short-sighted about our blind spots. We also stop growing.

It's a seductive trap for any professional advisor. We spend our days telling people what they should do, and most of the time we're right, so it stands to reason that we don't need to put as much effort into our own education anymore. But if we're going to take our goals seriously, we need to consistently seek objectivity from those who are best qualified to provide it (e.g., anyone who isn't us). So seek out the educators who are in the best position to provide useful insights:

  1. Clients
  2. Subordinates
  3. Bosses
  4. Referral sources

You can start simply by telling them that, in your ongoing commitment to improve yourself as a professional, you're seeking out the candid feedback of a few trusted colleagues. Then follow up with a simple question: "What are my strengths and weaknesses?"

If you're resistant to this idea, ask yourself why. Do you honestly believe there's nothing to be gleaned from their input, or are you apprehensive about getting negative feedback? If it's the latter, what do you anticipate they would say? Maybe you already know what you can do to improve your practice. Maybe it's time to address it.

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