From the mobile desk of Andy Drish…
Sunday, August 24, 2014
“I think you should always be seeking negative feedback.”
- Elon Musk
Most people won’t be direct with you and tell you where you are falling short.
They will talk around it.
Or not tell you at all.
And what happens to you?
You walk around… blind to what’s really happening.
You are oblivious.
And no one has the guts to say anything.
If no one is telling you where you’ve dropped the ball, you don’t have the opportunity to get better.
Why don’t people tell you?
Often, because it’s uncomfortable to share with someone what they’re doing wrong.
Most people move away from conflict. They feel like it’s offensive or mean. So they quietly ignore it (or talk about it when you’re not around.)
This is why it’s important to constantly SEEK negative (aka constructive) feedback …
A perfect scenario happened to me last week.
Last Friday I had my weekly ‘Man Call’ with Peter Shallard.
(Peter’s an incredible friend who always gives it to me straight, with no BS, which is one of the many reasons I love our calls.)
He told me we upset someone during our launch and she was angry about how we treated her during the launch.
Now that person was reaching out to him for advice on other sources outside of The Foundation where she could learn about building a software company.
My first thought?
“Screw her. She has no reason to be upset.”
(It’s a bit scary to share this… but it’s true. Getting negative feedback rarely feels good. It stung me a bit in the beginning.)
But then I paused… and thought about it… and I got curious.
“I wonder what happened that made her so upset? And if she felt that way… did others, too?”
So I asked Peter to introduce us. Then I emailed her and asked if I could have 15 minutes to chat with her on the phone.
The 15 minutes I spent with her last week were the most valuable 15 minutes of my whole week.
Because it gave me the feedback to improve as a company. And as a result, we’re going to significantly shift our entire launch process.
Here’s the jist of what happened:
Donna is our perfect customer. She’s brilliant. She has 10+ years of business experience consulting and now she wants to transition to SaaS.
She was ready to sign up and pay for the Foundation when we launched.
But we sold out and she didn’t get to.
When she got accepted to the Foundation, she got an email that says, “You’re In” … which gives details on when people can join.
We used that subject line in the past because we’ve never limited spots before.
So if you got it, you have the chance to join us no matter what.
But now we’ve narrowed our class sizes to 120 people to make the experience more intimate.
So in her mind, she was in… she had a spot waiting for her and there was no need to hurry.
And, after she makes her decision to join, she goes to sign up and sees that it’s sold out and she can’t.
What a terrible experience for her.
Can you imagine being her and how frustrated you’d be?
It’s almost like a sense of betrayal… feeling fully ready to join something big. And then having it taken away from you at the last minute.
I’d be pissed, too.
She explained all of this to me on the call and then, she asked ‘The Money Question’…
“What are you going to do now that you have the feedback?”
I love that question. It’s a question ‘action takers’ ask.
Because of that 15 minutes, we’ve started a project in The Foundation to completely revamp our application and launch process.
We’re rebuilding it all from the ground up, from the moment you sign up to how we accept people to how we invite them into our program.
It’s all changing because of this one 15 minute call. Because she was willing to share the feedback that hurt to hear. And because I was willing to receive it.
(NOTE: If you had a similar experience to Donna, I’m *deeply* sorry. But now I understand what we messed up, the impact it had on people and how we’re going to make it better. Feel free to reach out to me personally <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you were upset, too.)
The biggest lesson here is to constantly be seeking the feedback that hurts to hear.
You can’t wait for it to come to you.
Because it won’t come.
You must actively seek it.
You must create space for people to share that feedback with you.
Because if you don’t, you won’t know what’s not working.
P.S. – And as I reflect further… the real reason this feedback was possible is because of my weekly Man Call with Peter.
We have a call every Friday to give each other direct feedback, to share our problems and to constantly be upping our game.
This call has nothing to do with The Foundation (although Foundation topics often come up). I do this call because I value having people in my life who I can be real, raw and honest with. If you don’t have that, I *highly* suggest finding someone or joining a community where you can’t hide and play small.
My favorite friends are the people who call me out on my BS and constantly hold me to a higher standard in every area of my life. So Peter, thank you.