Yesterday, the summation of 48 hours of very hard work was a pitch competition at Lean Startup Machine, London. I talked about what my team members and I had learnt about TweetPivot and Lean Startup methodology. Unfortunately, we didn’t win; but we did learn an incredible amount. To continue learning I asked for some feedback from the judges. Here’re my recommendations for how to do this:
1. Don’t ask what they thought
If you ask someone this question you put them in a difficult position. The feedback they give depends on how well they know you, your mood, their mood and whether they think you’re just looking for a boost. 9 times out of 10 they’ll say what they think you want to hear.
2. Don’t ask if they have any negative feedback
This is better than #1 but you still present the person with the same dilemma. They are very likely to answer ‘No, it was wonderful’. You’ve learnt nothing.
3. Ask them, specifically, for negative feedback
Perfect. You’ve explicitly given them permission to give you negative feedback. You can’t control how damning they’re going to present this, however, but you’ve removed the risk from them. If they say ‘nothing’, challenge them.
Positive feedback’s great, but you’ll learn much more from honest, negative feedback.