PR for small business

The Brave Business of Feedback (Because We Aren’t Robots)

blog 9.4A few weeks back, I wrote a post called Don’t Flush Your Brand’s Reputation Down the Toilet, and to be honest, at the time, I wrote it because I needed to say it. The response to that post has been a bit overwhelming…and in many unexpected ways.

Let me explain. While much of the reaction to the post was “hell yes, thank you” there were also questions as to my motives or what I was trying to do. Character assassination was never my goal. Which is why while I was asked repeatedly for a rundown of who’s who, I chose not to go there. Not my style.


Which brings me to talking about mistakes. Every one of the examples in that post was true, and I was asked if those were mistakes, that maybe I should be willing to let go. Yes, no…maybe?

Personally, I’ve made mistakes and lots of them. But how we recover from them and deal with the feedback is what we should truly be judged on. How we apologize and make it right is what matters in the long run.

How do we do that? We need to own our mistakes. We need to face those buggers straight in the eye and take the feedback. As much as it hurts. Because you know what? When something stings, it is usually because there’s an ounce of truth.

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Is There Room for Feedback in Your Business?

There’s a lesson for ALL of us in that. Do we give our clients a space to provide feedback? To be honest with us?

As a result of that blog post, one of the people in the post recognized herself in it and stepped up to the plate. Props to her as that is not easy to do, especially months after the fact. Does it change the situation? No, but it changes my view of her and her level of investment in the situation which goes a long way.

On the flip side, I had a client reach out to me about a project and let me know some issues she had with it. I appreciated her feedback and we were able to get it all sorted out so everyone was happy in the end.

In both cases, we both had a different perspective on the same issue. Our worldview is not the only one. But personal ownership and responsibility is the key here. Only when we are willing to own it, do things get addressed.

My take away from this is that it’s up to each one of us to provide constructive feedback where and when it is required.  Enter the brave business of feedback.

We need to be thoughtful and careful – feelings are involved here and we are not robots. (As much as I have mixed feelings on the role of all the feelings in business – but that’s another post.) Feedback should be fair and balanced but it needs to happen. The more creepy crawly it makes you feel, the more reasons you need to put it out there.

And for us as business owners we need to provide a place where our clients feel like they will be heard. Providing opportunities to communicate with them, listening to what they are saying and soliciting feedback throughout the process.

That’s what we need more of – not gossiping in groups or quietly letting our annoyance fester into something more insidious.

Feedback is all part of the game and we need to be willing to give and receive. If you are willing to give, open yourself up to receiving. The art of feedback is not easy, but it is brave. So when people speak, we need to listen and not dismiss them as out of line or straight up nuts before considering the facts.

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How can you improve how you give and receive feedback within your business relationships? Comment below.