Learning from a feedback loop

We learn through feedback loops. They tell us if we liked or disliked something we tried. But what if we can't really measure for success? Then we feel lost. Measurement is key to know how to improve.

Learning from a feedback loop

Have you ever really appreciated your learning process? I'm not talking visual vs auditory learning, but really the process itself. How you read something, apply it and evaluate the outcome. And then how you feel it wasn't worth it, how it wasn't at all what you expected, how excited you were and looked forward to apply it again next time. Or... How you felt lost and had little idea whether this was the right way forward.

Learning is hard. Feedback, whether feeling, outspoken or quantitative, helps us evaluate how we feel about whether we're on the right track. Some learnings are easy. Where you are applauded for your effort. Or where the opposite happens and you are scolded for something you tried. Where you receive an A+ in school, or an F. Where you won the trophy, or fell off the podium. But then there are moments where success is hard to measure. Especially at work this seems to be hard. You'll have your annual review, or may do a 360 with peers every so much time. But instant feedback? That happens way too little.

Some people might be fortunate to have great feedback-givers at work. Where they are told N+1 more "benefits" than "concerns". I like how you organized that meeting. "How to" make sure everybody is at time next time? Or "I wish I knew...". Giving feedback is a skill worth learning. But it is also time intensive. So what is an easy next thing to do to help your peers do better? Qualitative feedback. Not to make it too time-consuming or potentially too personal, but nudge colleagues through a 3-star versus 5-star rating to tell them how that meeting worked out.

Surely, in an ideal world we'd all give each other constructive feedback. I'd applaud that. But more often than not the alternative is not to give any feedback at all. And to build a proper culture, it's naive to think that you can go from 0 to 100 instantly. To go from 0 to 1 first, qualitative feedback may be worthwhile. Complete that feedback loop, help people evaluate the actions they take.