Tell Me What I’m Doing Wrong
If you have ever done “clicker training” with a dog, you know how amazingly effective positive rewards are in training, versus the old-fashioned method of “correction” and negative feedback. Identify and reward the behavior you want, and you can teach an old dog new tricks within hours. It works for people too, which is why so many HR and business experts talk about the power of praise in teaching and motivating employees. I can relate to this. I love my work most when our clients offer generous praise and tell us that we exceeded their expectations.
But I also worry: Is the work really good? Is it as good as it can be? Is it finding its way up to other managers and decision makers, and is it helping them, too? Maybe this reflects professional insecurity, but new research published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows it is common as people gain expertise in their fields. Quoting the study published a few months ago:
“Novices are more likely than experts to seek positive feedback on their strengths and alter their behaviors and attitudes when they get such feedback, whereas experts are more likely than novices to seek negative feedback on their weaknesses and alter their behaviors and attitudes when they get this feedback.”
So while I appreciate knowing that our work is good, I appreciate it even more when a client tells me how it could be better. We want our work moving from good to great, and for that, we need clients like you telling us how to make it better.
Part of me is the eager-to-please puppy who needs just a few positive strokes to make me wag my tail. But the “expert” in me is always asking for more: “What could make this even better and more useful?” Your straight-on critiques will help us transform simple tricks into really spectacular research findings that will amaze you and your managers.