Early in my career, I struggled with feedback. I often responded poorly and fought to implement the specifics. Leaving a lacrosse environment at Syracuse where we won and won some more, it was tough for me – I’d let my pride get in the way, I’d get personally attached to projects, and if the feedback came across the table, I’d brush it off.
Moving into a creator role didn’t help. Being a creator (marketer, designer, writer, etc.) is tough – creative projects take time, you acquire the skill through experiences, and you often fight yourself on output-quality. It’s very easy to get attached to projects, defensive even. This mentality caused me to lose focus, push items forward that didn’t move the needle, and prioritize the wrong things.
I remember a distinct moment in time when an old boss of mine sat me down and said, “Alex, the feedback loop matters.” As we continued the discussion, he explained to me that, whether it’s your product, project, business, or career – the feedback loop feeds everything, and you need to create a system that continuously generates new feedback. This changed my entire approach professionally.
“Feedback loops pull behavior back on track and help to stabilize a system around a desired level. These systems can be very effective at both moderating bad habits and kickstarting good habits.” – James Clear
Feedback loops create momentum.
In the time since we started working on Seven Group, we’ve been able to use feedback loops to continue to shape the business. While still young, feedback loops have shaped our pricing model, our feature sets, our marketing strategy. They’ve created the necessary pivots we’ve needed to improve the product. For example, we started with a custom agency model when the idea first came to life but quickly pivoted to a tech platform/consultancy model based on 40 interviews with financial advisors. We document, synthesized and extracted the themes across the group.
We built a structure around training and strategy because we heard that’s where the gaps were in the market. We’re finishing up a core set of new features rolling out on May 11th because, again, we heard the feedback.
Ultimately, you need to lead with your gut, but that’s where feedback loops can become powerful – they can help guide your direction. In every client discussion, soliciting feedback regarding the value you’re providing can keep you grounded. Pivoting tactics, message, and content based on the feedback loop can keep you going. As you progress, each level of feedback requires a bit more focus and a bit more pride removed to implement, but each is more rewarding than the level before it.
Two years into a career, or ten years into a career, the feedback loop matters.