Being able to give proper feedback is hard. But it is perfectly possible to offer criticism, commentary, and advice without attaching negative energy, sarcasm or bad intentions: it is just that we rarely see it done properly. That’s why at 10xMBA, we will encourage you to give a lot of feedback to your peers – and we will give you feedback on your own feedback, all the time.
If anything, a good critic spends as much energy describing what something is, as well as what it isn’t. Criticism requires time, to think and properly analyse.
On the receiving end, it can be equally hard to listen to feedback. Yet there is no need to be defensive: you can ask clarifying questions or refer back to goals. And if you agree with a criticism, but you don’t see a path to improvement, ask for one! Remember that criticism is never about you: it’s about the work you are viewing.
Case in point: Sebastian received a lot of feedback on his initial introduction video that he shot for 10xMBA. It was tough: each video required 7 hours of work, from preparing the video setup to recording multiple takes, to post-processing the video. It was exhausting, to say the least. But little by little, by integrating the feedback from the team and the feedback received from trusted users, Sebastian created a much better looking video, with a crisper messaging and a more professional feel for it.
Give a look at the video to see the evolution of each shot to better appreciate the attention to detail and the ability to listen to feedback – as well as act upon it.
There is so much to gain from being kind – especially when there is no expectation of getting anything in return.
Here’s a concrete example: Sebastian offered free mentorship to anyone, anywhere, on any topic and for free but under one condition – that the recipient passes the kindness forward, by helping someone else in return. Yansen thus reached out to Sebastian for help on growing his newly-formed business, Kibar: over four years, Sebastian responded very quickly, in person or over email, coaching Yansen on growing his company which now employs more than 150 people.
One opportunity leading to another, Yansen then launched the 1,000 Digital Startup initiative, the only program that exists anywhere in the world to support the creation of startups across a whole country, namely aiming to get 1,000 startups off the ground in a few years across all of Indonesia. Many exciting opportunities were also presented to Sebastian as a result of this close collaboration – but we can’t tell you more as they are still unfolding ;-).