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Get Feedback: A goal everyone should have

Quinn McHugh
Quinn McHugh

Of all the unique and diverse goals you could have in your life, one of them should be this:

Get feedback

This advice applies to anyone at any stage of life, whether you're a CEO, a student, a senior researcher, a parent, an early career professional, or retired.

  • Not sure what next step to take in your career? Get feedback . Identify projects or work opportunities that could give you insight into what you actually like and don't like to do. Ended up being a terrible experience? Good. You now understand what to avoid or do differently in the future.
  • Not sure if you're qualified for that job? Get feedback. Apply anyway. You got rejected? Good. Get more feedback. Reach out to the employer and ask for input about your application. You now have valuable intel on what skills you might be lacking or what other jobs might be a better fit.
  • Not sure why your company's failing? Get feedback. Talk with employees across every level of your organization and understand what they think the problems are and what might be done to solve them. Develop a new strategy based on this input.
  • Not sure if your parenting style is working for your kids? Get feedback. Talk candidly about the kind of parent you want to be and ask in what ways you have/haven't support them.
  • Not sure if you're doing well as a manager? Get feedback. Ask your colleagues to rate how well you're doing and ask: "what could I do to increase that score by one point?"
  • Feeling like you lack expertise? Get feedback. Teach what you know to identify gaps in your knowledge.

All of this boils down to 5 steps:

  1. Identify your goal
  2. Identify one or more actions you might take to achieve your goal
  3. Do those actions
  4. Get feedback on your performance in carrying out those actions
  5. Go back to step 2

Feedback is an essential component of every well-performing complex system (you). It provides the information needed to adjust your behavior to produces the desired outcomes.

Stop ruminating about what might be true and get feedback to better understand what actually is.