Post Christmas there has been much in the press about unwanted gifts & what to do with them – exchange them, put them on e-bay, re-gift, give to a charity shop or re-cycle. One article even talked about a new initiative from Amazon due to be re-launched later in 2013 whereby the receiver of a gift will be notified of the gift in advance – if they don’t like it the receiver can exchange the gift for something they do want even before receiving the original gift!
Aren’t we missing the point of giving presents? It’s our opportunity to show the receiver we have thought about them, considered them as an individual what they like/don’t like & maybe how to surprise them or introduce them to something they didn’t previously know.
This got us thinking about feedback in the context of business & leadership development. We always talk about feedback as a gift – someone wants you to know something, they will have given thought about what to say, they may have struggled with how to deliver the feedback but ultimately in the majority of cases, they are giving the feedback with the intent to help you improve. As the receiver of feedback we can choose what to do with it – we could ignore it, challenge it or use it; at the very least it’s thought provoking so it always has an impact, no matter how small.
Imagine, if, as in the case of the new Amazon initiative we could have a sneak preview of the feedback in advance and if we don’t like send it back before having to review it fully, wouldn’t we just be missing an opportunity to learn? As Henry Ford famously said, ‘Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.’