Improving Through Analysis

Those who started working with you have been promoted over you. You’re smart, driven and talented so what do they have over you? Perhaps it’s not a question of attributes? Maybe, it’s a question about feedback?

Let these questions simmer:

  • What if you knew your weaknesses?
  • What if you knew your strengths?
  • What if you analyzed your decisions?

Peter Drucker, the author of Managing Oneself writes:

The only way to discover your strengths is through feedback analysis. Whenever you make a key decision or take a key action, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the actual results with your expectations.

Drucker notes:

Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values. Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person — hardworking and competent but otherwise mediocre — into an outstanding performer.

The “feedback analysis” is a tool that will develop you into the person who is prepared for opportunities. Here are a few questions that can help:

  1. What are your strengths? Once you have identified your strengths, place yourself in situations where your strengths will produce results.
  2. How will you improve your strengths? The feedback analysis will help you identify where you need to develop skills or acquire new ones.
  3. Where are you intellectually arrogant? Build a latticework of mental models so you can understand how the world works.

What has worked for me is setting a timer on my iPhone: Time For Feedback. When the timer goes off I:

  • Review my decisions up to that point.
  • I ask, “What value I added?”
  • I ask, “Did I operate from my strengths?”
  • I ask, “Where did I struggle?

Document your answers and during your weekly review—review your responses. The analysis allows you to understand what you’ve done and how you’ve performed. More importantly, the review helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses. Go through the exercise for the next 30 days. The results will impress you.