Singing is one of those skills that is difficult to evaluate in ourselves. We rely on feedback from others to determine how we’re doing. (Think of American Idol.) The personal capacity to innovate is a lot like that. It’s difficult to gain an accurate sense of our own creativity or analytical skills or insight. How often have you seen people either discount their creativity or exaggerate it? It’s quite common…and not just in singing competitions.
In his acclaimed bestseller, Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about what he calls the “Flywheel Effect.” He describes how small actions and decisions, made over a period of time, add up to sustained momentum and success for great companies—like small nudges building momentum on a flywheel. I agree and riffing on his metaphor, I would add that our flywheel can be turning in either direction. It’s possible that a series of seemingly small decisions and incremental actions can gradually undermine our success. So the key question becomes: Which direction is your flywheel turning?
As innovators, do we want people who won’t take “No” for an answer? Or, do we want people who pick up on the “No’s” quickly and adjust their thinking to find a creative work around?
Research and Development has long been at the core of innovation efforts of companies worldwide. While many other innovation tools have since come into use, R & D remains an essential activity—especially in any technology sector. And so it is with individuals.
No, performance is not what it’s all about. In fact, it’s possible to put too much emphasis on performance…and as a result undermine your business objectives. That’s right, I said “undermine”. Now, before you decide that I’m some sort of heretic…or just came unhinged, hear me out. You may find that you agree with me.
We all know someone who has trouble accepting feedback (And that includes most of us at times). In those moments, what we lack is not just humility—the willingness to hear about our shortcomings. We also lack the confidence that allows us to comfortably accept that information without it taking too great of an emotional toll on us. Those with high levels of true self-confidence are more willing and able to accept feedback not less. The curse of low self-esteem is that it prevents us from accepting feedback and that robs us of the ability to learn from our experience.