In the last week, I have attended a number of events amongst which a scale-up workshop with a pitch competition and then client meetings, all provided opportunities for feedback and growth. I personally think it is good to seek out feedback when you are somewhat clear about your offering or your work is at a point where only feedback will drive it forward and improve it.
In the workshop, I received feedback on how best to present the often very conceptual solutions in a more visual way with clear pointers where these said visuals would help. Equally some of my questions regarding market sizing and positioning received really workable answers. For me, this was a highly valuable growth opportunity. I invited the feedback and looked for clarification. It worked in my favour to have that spirit, I also ended up winning the pitch competition in our room. The bottle of champagne was a nice treat to come home with.
In solution design, we rely on feedback to make our work the best fit possible and we also need to manage expectations at the same time. I had been working on a proposal for a client and delivered the pitch for it a few weeks ago. Now when I pitch for work, we go in with the intent to co-create a solution with the client and at the proposal stage, the suggested options are just that a mere suggestion. I received the feedback that they couldn’t conceptualise the solution because they didn’t follow how the rules of the game would work. What I had obviously failed to communicate successfully is that the rules of the game are a work in progress and that even the original concept was up for a complete change and makeover. It is good feedback for growth when presenting proposals.
In another client meeting after the first deliverables were presented, the client turned around and wanted a completely different solution. In our view less fitting and from experience also less effective in achieving the results. In this situation, I felt it was my duty to point out that the second solution would not give the client the outcome they wanted, namely awareness and behaviour change. The valid feedback was the level of technological experience of their end-users being pulled into question and hence a simpler solution being required.
Feedback is all around us and when to take it on board and when to leave it to the side is important to learn. In my coaching days, I often had the discussion with clients around ‘whose stuff is that’, meaning that feedback is often also a reflection of where people are coming from. You have to be able to weigh up is this feedback valuable and will it help me forward or is this just ‘their stuff’ that even with the right intentions is not really helping you design the best solution.
Weighing up the options presented back to you in feedback is a judgement call that typically only you can make with all your knowledge about the topic and hopefully an increased full overview thanks to the feedback. There will still be times, where you feel it could have been better and also times where you feel it was as good as it could be.