15th Edition: Harry Potter & The Magic Of Feedback
Thanks for being here
Hey everyone, hope you’re having a wonder-full week.
“Let’s hear it for the boy”.
I’m going to have a nephew. I found out this weekend when a hockey puck exploded with blue powder (the most Canadian gender reveal ever).
My family was “up north”—a couple of hours outside of Montreal where people skate, snowmobile, and cross-country ski across frozen lakes.
My sister asked us to gatheround, then her husband took a slapshot, and poof—the sky was painted blue. Everyone cheered. My mom cried. My dad was confused.
This meme from Modern Family best captures how excited I am. I can’t wait.
Kids ignite our childlike wonder. My niece is 17 months and it’s sheer entertainment watching her waddle around. She’ll randomly pick up a barely visible crumb or shoes, and examine them like an artist would a sculpture. Serious business.
She’ll look up at me, her parents—or the nearest adult—to gauge our reaction. We seem to give constant feedback with one word rationales. Don’t touch the dog’s toys—dirty. Don’t go near the fireplace—hot.
Sometimes she listens, other times it’s blatant disregard. She has her own decision making process. But she’s a feedback magnet.
Most kids are.
So why aren’t adults? Somewhere on the road to grown-up-ville we lose that magnetic spark. I blame school for conditioning us to ask fewer questions in lieu of following instructions.
The irony is career success—hell, any success—depends on feedback.
So here are three gems to help you go back to being a feedback magnet:
An experience to inspire: Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary
Imagine being a child star.
Celebrities like Drew Barrymore say there are few worse things for your development and mental health.
The Harry Potter cast is a rarity.
I hadn’t thought about it until I watched the 20 year reunion. The actors who brought Harry, Hermione, and Ron to life talked about their experience filming the franchise—and navigating the mayhem that came with it.
What prevented them from spiralling out of control like most rising stars?
They credit Director Chris Columbus—and each other. Having a leader and co-stars who made them feel “at home” on set gave them gravity boots to walk through uncharted territory.
It goes to show environment plays a crucial role in helping people silence whatever chaos is going on around them to focus.
Course creators can help students with this by making them feel “at home”. Whether it’s speaking to them on their level by assuming a beginner’s mindset (when Director Chris Columbus did this, he even bent down to the childrens’ height), or encouraging questions and discussions.
The more approachable you are, the more approachable your students will be. It’s a mirroring effect. And when people are approachable, feedback is abundant. It stops being something to “dread” or “fear” and becomes a natural part of conversation.
🎥 Challenge: reflect on how you can be more approachable. Craft a couple of questions you can work into conversations to generate qualitative feedback from students.
A resource to consider: MMDD framework
What made your day difficult?
Athletic Greens President & COO Kat Cole shares the power of this question in the video below. It’s helped her optimize across teams and companies by amplifying employee feedback.
The framework accomplishes two goals:
Gathering insights to spot patterns that need to be addressed
Training employees to continuously give honest feedback
Course operations have a lot of moving parts. If you don’t have a system in place to capture issues—no matter how small they seem—the MMDD framework is a great place to start.
I’ve used a similar framework in the past but we called it an “issues log”—don’t judge me, I didn’t name it.
Jokes aside, language signals intent. So I love the idea of framing the ask to be more natural, as though it’s an extension of a friendly conversation. That way people are inclined to list small annoyances that could otherwise compound into serious issues.
🎥 Watch Kat Cole’s full appearance on Where It Happens for more tips on how to be a feedback magnet.
A question to ponder: How to be less afraid of feedback
The biggest reason we don’t initiate feedback is fear.
Fear of being wrong. Fear of being criticized. Fear of not being liked.
But feedback is our roadmap to where we want to go.
And because I’m reliving how much I love Harry Potter—and Ron Weasley’s outstanding facial expressions—here’s a relatable scenario depicting:
The dread most people feel about feedback (the look of horror on Ron’s face when he get his “Howler”)
An awful confrontation we fear may result from feedback (Ron’s mum burning a memory into her son’s psyche)
How negative feedback gets worse the longer you ignore it (Neville Longbottom’s cautionary tale of how he once ignored a “Howler” from his Gran and it was “horrible”)
Many of us default to a “doom and gloom” perspective on feedback. But that shouldn’t be the case.
Here are a couple of questions to ponder to get back to being a feedback magnet:
💭 How can I reframe my perspective on feedback to see both positive and constructive comments as beneficial? How can I be less afraid of tough feedback?
Thanks for reading my fifteenth newsletter
My goal is to prompt reflection within this vibrant community of ours, so I’d love your feedback on how I can make future editions beneficial.
Got an idea or burning question I could address? Hit reply and we’re off to the races.
Have a wonder-full week,