I have a text document with all the feedback people have given me over the years. I’m calling it my Feedback Bank – it’s a small reminder that this is a store of something valuable.
But it’s only as valuable as the use you make of it – some use this collection to get a motivational boost when needed. But I’ve just been doing deposits, no withdrawals.
It’s currently just a long list of text entries (with date, and name of the person who sent it). There’s just no reason for me to go in there apart from adding new feedback. I’m not into the whole concept of having a messy drawer, so it’s use it or lose it.
Before jumping to solutions though (can’t help it!), let’s step back and consider what this collection of feedback represents.
The feedback is based on your behaviors and interactions with others. And this represents an identity of yourself. Yes, a very much curated identity, as it is based on things people were willing to share about you, and you then decided to save.
Now, your identity is made up of more things than this feedback from others. I’d like to think that you maintain your own (healthy) version of ‘self’. But it allows you to compare the two and reflect. And if you’re looking to align one with the other, you now know where to start.
But before doing so, there’s some work to do, this raw data needs some transformation.
To make this unordered list of text more useful, it first needs to be organized. An obvious start would be to cluster similar feedback together. Then order things according to importance, or distill what you think is the essence.
A great medium for this would be a digital canvas/whiteboard. By doing this work this becomes more an artifact in itself, and much more than a plain collection of feedback.
And just like physical spaces, you now have the opportunity to make this artifact inviting and friendly, so you’ll enjoy spending time there, and want to come back to it. Just like you would do with a physical space*.
And physical spaces work best when they have a specific function. So think of a singular function you’d like this artifact to have. Is it a place to reflect? Is it a place to get that boost? To look forward?
I don’t know yet, but what I’d like to add to this artifact is the element of time. If you implement changes based on feedback, over time you should be able to see the effect in the new feedback you receive. Maybe I’ll just create one of these feedback boards every year and compare, that could work. I’m excited to see how this evolves, partially because it’ll make me a tiny bit less of an information hoarder.
*This is an analogy I keep coming back to, the same goes for web apps or a code base. If you make these into a friendly space, people will enjoy being there and come back to it.