With just enough time to make it to my lunch appointment, I rushed out of the church as soon as the Sunday morning service came to an end. The preacher’s illustrations and sermon clearly communicated a good message. The music, a blend of contemporary and traditional, sounded rehearsed and was performed well. Everything went great this Sunday.
“Jimmy! Wait a minute,” I heard someone urgently calling out to me in the parking lot, right before I reached my car. I turned around. Ray Davis, the man who manages the sound system, was rushing out to talk to me.
Ray and his team of volunteers do the best they can with an outdated audio system. The church is in the middle of a relocation and construction project, so there are no plans to update the system until we move into the new building. In the section where my family usually sits the poor sound quality often distracts from the rest of the service. When there’s something wrong with the sound, we let Ray know.
“How was the sound in your section this morning?” He asked. I had to think for a moment. Then I realized everything went so well today I did not have to think about the sound system. He continued, “I finally figured out why we had so many issues in the section where you sit. I was able to fix it this week.”
The repairs worked so thoroughly, I did not think about the audio quality that morning. We do not ordinarily notice when everything goes smoothly, do we? Perfect is what we expect.
Later that week when I returned to the church, I found Ray and thanked him for resolving the audio problem. I apologized for always complaining when things were not right, and failing to recognize when they were perfect.
Ray said, “I need you to tell me when the sound is not right. Otherwise, I do not know about it, and I can not fix it. I need your negative feedback.”
Think about what Ray told me. He values negative feedback. Positive feedback does not motivate us to do anything different, or to do anything better. Positive feedback makes us complacent and satisfied. We all need negative feedback. It is the only feedback we can really use and implement to improve performance.
Ray Davis knows what he is talking about. We all need to listen.
The Only Real Feedback Is Negative Feedback.
The practice of this principle will improve your career and build your reputation.
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