Feedback Is Essential

We all know that we need feedback to know when we are on track, and when we have taken a detour from the expectations.  Yet, feedback given is only half of the message.  What happens when the person receiving feedback doesn’t know about it?

My daughter is taking online classes through a university noted for a robust learning environment.  The professors are giving a lot of constant feedback on assignments, discussions and actively participating daily with their students.  On top of all that, there is a grading section that a student can read about their progress for the week by assignment and a weekly summary.

I just became aware of this last feature, and when I discussed it with my daughter, her eyes lit up with “how cool”!  Since this happened to be the last week of the course, I responded with a typical dumb parent response like, “Huh”?

In her orientation course, and all through the past 9 weeks, she had not know about this feedback section.  She was passing one class, and the other class is not doing as well as I would have liked.  If she had known about this feedback, she would have had some valuable information to learn and improve from.  Yet she missed the feedback altogether!

Feedback is essential, but I’m learning that feedback sent is only good if it is received.  If you are giving feedback, then make sure it is being received.  If you are a manager, how are you making sure your advice is being received? If you train, teach or coach, are you checking to see if your message has been received?

We in the learning world hammer so much on encouraging people to give feedback, but what I think we urgently need to do is check to make sure we are also training people on how to confirm their feedback is received.

How are you doing this?


A Time of Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  It is a time that Americans come together and give thanks for their blessings.  It is a time to help others that are less fortunate, and of course a time to eat more than your body should consume in a week let alone a day.

I recently heard a paster comment that it is easy to be thankful for all the good that is happening to you, but that we should be thankful for all the bad that is happening to us too.  “For God is in charge of all works in our life for our good.”  We may never know, nor should we always be trying to figure out how it all works together for our good, just trust in faith that it is.

This means to me that I’ve been a little remiss in my list of things to be thankful for.  It also helps me on my mission to be more accountable for my actions if I am not blaming others for things but being grateful for my circumstances.

There must be a reason that people don’t return phone calls and emails.  There must be a reason that decisions are avoided or delayed and sales are not closed.  There must be a reason that my cat appreciates my words more than clients.

I am thankful for all that has gone well in my life without a doubt, and I am going to be making a serious effort to be more grateful for all the other obstacles too.  It won’t happen overnight, but with your help or without it, I will make Thanksgiving a year-long activity.  (Accept for the eating, as I have to lose some weight this year too!)

Do Over Cruise Was Wonderful!


Once we got past the first morning on board the Carnival Spirit with a Hot Breakfast, I knew we were back to a normal cruise experience.  Yet something was different this time and it would take a couple of days for me to figure out what it was.

It dawned on me that the usually high level of service and friendliness you experience on a cruise ship was exceptional this time.  And it was not as if it was different for us, as no one had tagged us as Survivors of the Carnival Splendor making sure we received better service.  No, this new and improved service seemed to emanate from all staff to all passengers.

I got to thinking that the Carnival Splendor has about 3000 passengers that fateful week, and that everyone had been given a future cruise on the house.  The purpose was to show them how a cruise experience “should have worked” and to make amends for the bad experience.  This means that 3000 people have the potential to be on any Carnival Cruise ship at anytime in the future.  The odds of any two families on the same ship in the same week would be slim to none.

Carnival Cruises must have made it crystal clear that all service should be kicked up.  Even the food on board was better than ever, but it was the way everyone was treated.  Passengers were addressed by name frequently!  And not just when you handed them your sail and sign card (name on it) but at dinner.  My wife and daughter had unlimited soda cards, and the bar staff started to recognize them and had a Diet Coke ready and smiled as they would hand it to them.

So 10 cheers for Carnival Cruise Lines!  They had the right vision and strategically implemented it well!

Trying A Do Over

For those of you that have been following this blog for at least a year, you may remember one I wrote in November 2010 called Surviving The Carnival Splendor.  If you don’t remember the press coverage of the dead in the water cruise ship off the Mexican Rivera coast last year, read that blog before you continue.

So this next week we will be boarding the Carnival Spirit for a 9-day “do over” cruise as Carnival’s way of encouraging our family to give them another try.  This will be my 33rd cruise so my expectations are that it will be just as normal a sailing as usual.  The experience on the Splendor was just that, an experience.  Considering how many ships depart every week around the world, that was really just a fluke.

Yet anyone that is required to deliver good customer service will tell you, the upset customer can do more harm than 100 pleased customers can do good.  So for Carnival Cruises to not only refund the ill-fated cruise from last year, but to compensate for another cruise at no charge, they want to turn around as many of those upset customers as they can.

I am such a cruise-aholic (my own term) that I would have cruised again without any incentive, yet at the same time I’m not sure I wouldn’t have chosen another cruise line to get my feet wet again. (no pun intended)  By having this “do over” handed to me, it made my decision easier to return to Carnival Cruises.

So tune in again in a couple of weeks, and we shall see how this second chance worked out.  I’m curious to see if I’ve been flagged as a survivor or if I will get the same top-notch treatment.  The reason I love cruise vacations so much is that all passengers are treated like royalty!

Bon Voyage!