Consultative Criticism

19 Sep 2005|Jennifer Grey

Criticism. I think it’s a delicious form of feedback.

I’ll admit it’s an aquired taste and like avocados or sushi or chocolate, there are times when I’m in the mood for it and times when I’m not. I receive one bit of criticism over and over again. Yes, I’m good. Yes, I add value. But there’s this one little thing standing in the way of greatness.

Because of my love for criticism, it’s easy to dismiss the criticism by criticizing the feedback itself. Typically the rationale for improvement is flawed and doesn’t stand up to cross examination (mine of course). Sometimes I just don’t like the sender. Sometimes it’s more fun to ignore the feedback and see what happens. (That’s a tad bit dangerous, but so is skydiving and I’m too chicken to try that.)

A couple of weeks ago, I received the same old feedback. This time I heard it. Nothing changed except the person delivering the message. Really. It came from an unexpected source. It wasn’t delivered particularly effectively or more eloquently than in the past. It was simply a different voice.

But this time it made me realize I was messing with my ‘brand’. It hit home. It also inspired me to look to new solutions to address my problem. Second lesson — the value of consultation.

Cast about if you’re not in the place you want to be — whether you’re a company, a brand, or a person looking to improve. You may hear the same old thing but eventually somebody will say it in a way that makes a difference to your bottom line — whether that’s profit, product, innovation or integrity.

Hmmm, there’s a nice service line extension for Cheskin to develop: the framework for consultative criticism ;). Any takers?

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