Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - The Problem with Feedback


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"So why do we save it up for annual reviews, exit interviews and employee surveys? Is this deflection?"

This could be a case of saving the best for last... ok, maybe not. Think of the feedback loop that musicians and performers use: instantaneous. Why? Because they are in the business of practicing to teach muscles and develop grace, skill, etc.

I would never dream of singing on stage without hearing myself in real time. So why do we delay 'hearing' ourselves in business? Is it because we already know that we are wanting? Then the problem is not with feedback. The problem is with performance.

If we think about social media as a tool, then we could compare it to the on stage speaker that allows us to hear ourselves talk or sing in a theatre. We may be in denial of the fact that we are any good... yet we do hear ourselves reflected back to us.

I do not have answers here. Your questions are stimulating me to explore in new directions. Maybe the psychology is one of entitlement vs. one of effort.


As usual, you inspire me to think a little deeper about the dynamics here. Maybe it's not an issue of thick skin. Perhaps it's an issue of distraction and being projected elsewhere. If we did capture the information and responded to the invitation to a dialogue in the moment, what would happen? Chances are we would have stories vs. positions. There are companies that are masterful at collecting feedback... yet they suck at change. I will look for a real story of implementation.

This has been a top of mind subject for me in recent days, so reading your reflections and these comments on feedback is helpful.

It seems we have so ritualized feedback that we get ritual times at least.

We know that humans learn best when the feedback is quick and consistent. Touching a hot stove provides that kind of learning. If it took days before we felt the pain of a burnt finger, we'd be in trouble.

So why do we save it up for annual reviews, exit interviews and employee surveys? Is this deflection?

And will social media help? I think it could and will but resistance to hearing and giving feedback seems to me more a human problem than a technology problem.

I'm more full of questions than anything else on this subject.

And I am still ruminating on what you write in the first paragraph: The problem with feedback is that we rarely know how to give it, and seldom learn how to take it. Why is that?

Yes...why is that?

Keep creating,

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