Feedback is the breakfast of champions. This is a distinction that I learned from my mentor Clinton Swaine of Frontier Trainings. Often times we look at receiving feedback as criticism and find it hard to take but if we flip that idea that it’s a way to learn how to improve as well as to accept praise for a job well done we can see that both types of feedback are valuable.
Feedback was a regular part of life during my military career. When we’d go out on a mission, no matter what it was or when we executed a plan, there was a requirement to do an After Action Report. We took a look at what went right, what went wrong and what we could do to improve for the next time. It’s important to do continuous process improvement. The only way to get better is to execute the plan and then review the plan after its been executed. I am always doing continuous process improvement. I record myself almost every time I speak and go back and look at the tape to see areas I need to improve to ensure I deliver the best talk for my future audiences.
Giving feedback is just as important as receiving it. Another important lesson I learned is a quote by Vince Lombardi – “Praise in Public, Criticize in Private.” This is a rule of thumb as sometimes it’s necessary to take the moment for immediate coaching, but for most situations you want to keep this in mind. If you hesitate to give someone feedback for poor performance, that basically gives them the silent feedback that their performance is acceptable so you will be doing that person a disservice by not giving feedback.
Positive feedback is just as important. It should be genuine and come from the heart. Mary Kay Ask of Mary Kay Cosmetics always said “People wear an invisible sign hanging their neck that says make me feel important.” People like to be affirmed and hear that they’ve done a good job. We live in a negative world full of anger, stress and rudeness. People are quick to lash out at other’s on social media saying things they’d never say in person. In this negative world full of negative messages, it’s good to give feedback in a positive manner even if it’s to coach someone to improvement. It does no good to tear someone else down. Ensure you take the time to give good feedback often both to yourself and others.
From sports teams to speakers, feedback is the breakfast that all champions use to be a better version of themselves in all areas of life. Feedback truly is the breakfast of champions.