Acting on Feedback (#70)

Giving and taking feedback is a popular topic these days. Companies are going to great lengths to solicit more feedback from employees and customers – especially those regularly turning to social media.

In my many discussions with high-achieving individuals and companies, one thing that consistently sets them apart is their willingness to not only receive candid feedback, but to then act on it.

Acting on feedback is harder than it seems. It means that we need to first accept what people are telling us about how we can improve and overcome our inherent cognitive dissonance. It also means admitting that we don’t always have the best ideas and be comfortable giving credit to others. These are hallmark signs of a great leader. Individuals who want to do and be better don’t care where the best ideas or suggestions come from.

Here are two examples of CEO’s who have recently accepted and acted upon customer feedback:

If you want to be an effective leader, it’s vital that you demonstrate a willingness to act on feedback. Doing so conveys that you are approachable, solution-oriented, and are looking for the best ideas—regardless of where they came from and irrespective of credit.

When people see and experience this positive feedback loop, they will be even more open and honest with you or your company; it’s that open, honest communication that leads to major breakthroughs within an organization, and it costs you nothing.

To do for next week: Act on someone else’s suggestion, let them know, and see what happens.

Quote of The Week

“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.”

Elon Musk

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  1. Jerrold M. Shapiro, Ph.D./Bioengineering May 5, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Dear Bob,

    You make an important point. Before acting, the feedback must be verified.

    For example, I’m raising money to do a First-in-Human clinical feasibility study of a medical device that will treat a disease one hundred times more common than breast cancer. The feedback I’ve received varies from advice that I raise just enough to three times as much for this study, to raising two million dollars so that I don’t have to fundraise for a while.

    I’ve pitched this effort several times to potential investors, and the feedback was:
    • they invest in the team, so put that first
    • they invest in the solution to a problem so put the problem first
    • they want to see your exit strategy
    • you insult a sophisticated investor by suggesting an exit strategy
    • be honest about your total addressable market (one Trillion dollars a year in sales)
    • tone down your sales forecasts so that they are like other medical products.

    Acting on feedback without validating it is unwise.


    Jerrold M. Shapiro, Ph.D./Bioengineering
    President, Floelle Inc.
    Please reply to:

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