Give Them Something To React To

To get something done right, the first step is actually getting something done. And trust me, doing something and doing something right are two completely different things. To get something done, you need to get someone’s attention. And what is the best way to get someone’s attention? Give them something to react to. But you have to remember, getting a reaction doesn’t signify agreement, it is simply the start to a conversation. Your goal is to start a conversation that ultimately leads toward the positive change you were hoping to achieve.

More often than we would like to admit, we have talked about what we want to do or attempted to convince others of an idea to execute with little to show for it. Think about the last time someone told you about something cool, but there was nothing to look at, what did you say? Probably something along the lines of “come back when you have something to show me.” Now consider what happens when someone puts something in front of you and says “what do you think?” There is a very different result – you actually provide input and the discussion moves forward.

What you will find on most occasions is an inability to actually make change until something is present to react to. A drawing, a prototype, a spreadsheet… anything is better than a blank stare. However, getting that first tangible item should be done with one objective in mind, to start a conversation by getting a reaction. What type of reaction you get is another story. Regardless of positive or negative feedback, my thought is any reaction is a good reaction. Why? Because you can now move forward with change knowing what you are up against and begin a dialogue that moves your efforts forward.

How to react to negative feedback:
Take the input and understand if it is due to actual function or because of impact to that person’s role. After consideration, determine if you need to change your direction or just change your presentation. You might even consider bringing this person into an advisory role to show them how much their input means to you. Then make sure to follow up with that person with your modifications and ensure you address the original critique.

How to react to positive feedback.
First of all, be very hesitant to take good news at face value. Not trying to sound pessimistic, but there are a lot of people that will do anything to a avoid conflict. Ask questions along the lines of “so you would recommend this to your friends and family?” or “if you were going to focus on one thing to improve, what would it be?” If you still get positive feedback, thank them and see of you can get a name of someone you don’t know from their network. Don’t push it too hard, but just know there should always be constructive feedback so continue to find people willing to give it to you.

Regardless of feedback, attempt to not take it personally. I can admit on more than one occasion I have reacted from an emotional standpoint instead of an objective one. That does not get you very far. Try to remember that it does not have to be your idea that solves the problem, rather your action that makes a solution happen. Taking this attitude means you are in it for the greater good, not the personal glory.

Going from getting something done to getting something done right can be quite a process. Just know that every time you strive to improve your work, you must have something tangible to show in order to get a reaction. Through iterative feedback and taking on multiple perspectives, you can make significant change in a relatively short period of time.


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