Feedback: Art or a Waste of Time?

by | Jan 7, 2021 | Change, Learning |


Feedback can be great. Super helpful. But also a waste of time. It can help us improve our work, our projects, but only if we listen to it and change. Otherwise it is a waste of time. For us and for those giving the feedback.

The caveat here is that sometimes we get feedback from people who our work is not intended for. In those cases we need to be able to generously say thank you, but I did not make this for you.

However, we can’t use that as an excuse to reject all feedback. Being clear on who’s it for, it critical as we move forward. And when the people our work is for provide us with feedback, we need to sit up and take notice. We want to hear from them. We want to improve our work.

And yet, within in the social sector, especially the aid sector, we spend time setting up mechanisms for feedback from those we seek to serve and then ignore it. Too often our projects are too tightly scripted that there is no room for change. Adaptive management is an art form, not scripted science.

The most interesting thing is that good science is all about exploration, wonder, feedback and response. Yes it is methodical. However it seeks feedback. And then adapts as it learns. Not learning from feedback is bad science. Also bad management.

Embracing feedback. Seeking it out from the people we seek to serve is a choice we make. It becomes a wise choice when we do something with the feedback and improve our work, our projects. Adapting, improving our work is not easy. It sometimes requires difficult, challenging conversations. But it is worth it. It is the work we set out to do.

The choice is up to us.

Photo by Vlad Hilitanu


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *