‘Build a resilient business’ they say. However, how do we do that in an ever-evolving economic climate where we are all furiously competing for a portion of the market?
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Macro changes to your business happen without warning, and learning to be adaptable and resilient is the only way to survive. In my experience, one of the best ways to do that is through actively seeking out criticism.
Don’t take it personally
Reality check: No one likes to receive criticism.
As human beings, we seek validation and cannot stop asking ‘how did I do?’ hoping the response will be affirming. The reality is that if we truly want to be great people both at work and in our personal lives we need to regularly self-reflect to know the difference between being criticised and receiving criticism.
We can only really be great if we welcome (and even actively seek out) criticism.
Well, I think it is obvious. If you want your business to survive inevitable changes, and grow, it is going to need to know where it can improve.
Related: How to handle social-media criticism
Be like Elon Musk
If we continuously surround ourselves with people who affirm every action we take, we may become insular and unable to be objective. It is something I learned from Elon Musk. He doesn’t go around forcing his staff and clients to look for criticism, but he always asks ‘where do you think we or this product could improve?’
This he does with sincerity, with a warm smile and a big thank you. He gives permission for critique and doesn’t take it personally nor is he offended by the responses - he reflects, accepts what he feels was valid for the sake of the business and rejects what he feels was invalid for the improvement of the business. This is the reason he is as successful as he is.
The age-old adage ‘two brains are better than one’ applies and you are not always the only one with great ideas. It’s the micro changes that turn a good product or service into a great one.
Receiving criticism is never easy but don’t be afraid to ask your staff and clients to share what they think can be improved because there is always something and in an ever-changing world, the only way to remain resilient is to acknowledge those incremental improvements.
This by no means is a suggestion that you should never affirm your team or in fact accept affirmation for your work. Receive that feedback with joy but create a habit of asking for critique in order for you to be the best. Your team will appreciate that they can be honest with you and they will appreciate that their voices are being heard.