X Factor (not quite) Public Review as an Improvement Technique

Well, last week I got a taste of what I think it might be like to be an X-Factor contestant:

Stand up in front of some highly experienced people;

Deliver your best amateur effort;

Listen carefully to what they have got to say about it;

Then: laugh/cry/high-five/run away/smile graciously (delete as appropriate).

No, it wasn’t the X Factor auditions. I was just getting this blog publically reviewed at the first meeting of WordPress Users Wales.

I’ve had a fair bit of experience of reviewing products and services and giving feedback over the years but this was slightly different. There was no hiding place. Even with a blog you can choose to not accept comments, but in this situation it was totally live, unedited and you are completely exposed – along with the precious blog you’ve created.

Fair play to the reviewers, all of the commentary was very constructive and delivered positively. I’m very grateful for the feedback and I’m doing my best to use it.

A couple of observations though for anyone else thinking of doing it:

  1. Don’t be precious about your ‘baby’. You’ve asked for feedback, accept it;
  2. Don’t try to defend anything. It just doesn’t work. You stop listening to the really useful stuff and people stop providing it.
  3. Write it all down, or better still get someone else to write it down for you;
  4. Act on the advice. If people have bothered to think about what you’ve done, and let you know, show that you have listened.
  5. Oh, and have I mentioned, listen really hard.

As an improvement technique I’m not sure that public review has the potential for widespread application. Maybe it is best left to the likes of the X Factor and blogs.

So, what’s the PONT?

  1. Only do it if you really want to learn and improve.
  2. Listen really hard, don’t explain, defend or justify.
  3. Act on the advice.

PS.  Hopefully anyone who’s reading who offered me feedback has seen some improvement on the page layout. Thank you!  Still plenty of distance to go though…..

About WhatsthePONT

I'm from Old South Wales and I'm interested almost everything. Narrowing it down a bit: cooperatives, social enterprises, decent public services, complexity science, The Cynefin Framework, behavioural science and a sustainable future. In 2018/19 I completed a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, looking at big cooperative enterprises and social businesses in NE Spain and the USA. You can find out more here: https://whatsthepont.com/churchill-fellowship/

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