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Stay Motivated When Feedback Is Scarce

This week we will continue with the theme of change management, learning/continuous improvement and innovation, with a focus on effectively fostering innovation and experimentation at both the team and organizational level. There are some really great tips and exercises (see Sydney Finkelstein’s “change notebook”) to cultivate and inculcate an ethos of continuous improvement and meaningful change. 

In addition, there are a couple of articles that look at the importance of and increased need for continuous feedback and information loops in our current (and future for many of us) work from home era. As we look to effectuate meaningful and sustained change, a variety of perspectives and insights will be needed. 

And for those interested in learning more about keys to successful behavioral change, take a listen to the short interview with BJ Fogg. He stresses the power of tiny habits and continued, even if small, progress. (He is a fascinating guy who has done some super helpful work that we used during my time at Kaiser Permanente.) Rita McGrath, in her HBR podcast interview, echoes the need for small but steady change as well, as she advises businesses looking to strategically digitally transform their operations. Both are well worth the listen.

As always, happy reading and listening! And please stay safe and look out for your families and your community.

My best,



Develop Agility That Outlasts the Pandemic. “The future, in our view, won’t be all that different: It is likely to present companies with a series of unexpected challenges and opportunities, and business as usual will no longer be sufficient. An agile business system can help companies create the innovations they will need to survive in these uncertain times.”

Why Companies Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation. “In sum, large organizations lack shared beliefs, validated principles, tactics, techniques, procedures, organization, budget, etc. to explain how and where innovation will be applied and its relationship to the rapid delivery of new product.We can build a mindset, culture, and process to fix this.”

Building a Culture of Experimentation. “To successfully innovate, companies need to make experimentation an integral part of everyday life—even when budgets are tight. That means creating an environment where employees’ curiosity is nurtured, data trumps opinion, anyone (not just people in R&D) can conduct or commission a test, all experiments are done ethically, and managers embrace a new model of leadership.”

A Brief Exercise to Spur Innovation on Your Team. “Unfortunately, many companies, even those with innovative histories, struggle to keep up with the torrid pace of change in their industries…Established businesses have trouble innovating for many reasons, including siloed structures, fuzzy strategies, inadequate talent, and not enough funding. ‘Softer’ factors also come into play, for example, a team or corporate culture that fails to give employees the time and space they need to think creatively. How do effective leaders overcome these hurdles?…I emphasize that it’s OK to start small. And one of the first tools I recommend is a group exercise I call the ‘change notebook.'”

The importance of peer feedback in the digital workplace. “COVID-19 is accelerating companies’ shift to virtual working, but employers still need people-centric ways to assess employees’ strengths and weaknesses.”

Stay Motivated When Feedback Is Scarce. “Reduced feedback, diminished external encouragement, and decreased interpersonal interaction don’t just take an emotional toll; they can take a toll on our work outcomes as well…’When we make progress and get better at something, it is inherently motivating. In order for people to make progress, they have to get feedback and information on how they’re doing.’ And, for many newly remote workers, that’s just not happening often enough — if at all.”

TED Talks/Podcasts

HBR IdeaCast: Digital Transformation, One Discovery at a Time. “Rita McGrath, professor at Columbia Business School, says the need for organizations to adopt digital business models is more important than ever. Change is accelerating as startups tackle incumbents. And suddenly the coronavirus crisis is forcing the hand of many companies that have put off digital transformations. She explains how established firms can avoid bet-the-farm moves and instead take small steps and quickly target their experiments.”

Farnam Street: The Knowledge Project. “Behavior scientist, BJ Fogg, explains his master plan for behavioral change that teaches you to get rid of wired in habits.”

Blog Posts 

Farnam Street Blog: Thinking For Oneself. “Earning insight requires going below the surface. Most of us want to shy away from the details and complexity. It takes a while. It’s boring. It’s mental work. Yet it is only by jumping into the complexity that we can really discover simplicity for ourselves.”

Seth Godin: When Is It Too Soon? “People almost always want a smile, a kind word or a hand up sooner than we think and for longer than we imagine.”

Arts, Music & Culture Corner

Inside Lands August 28 & 29. “Outside Lands is proud to present Inside Lands, a free virtual festival featuring two days of music and never before seen footage to celebrate the past 12 years of our festival’s history and everything we love about the Bay Area. On August 28 & 29 at 4pm PT, join us for iconic archival sets, exclusive live performances, interviews with artists, plus features with the festival curators, small businesses and community that make Outside Lands truly one of a kind.”

Are concerts, festivals, and live events ever coming back? Here’s what 6 experts say. “Insiders at Burning Man, Broadway, Meow Wolf, and more describe how the live events industry, hit hard by the pandemic, will emerge onto a new stage.”


“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou

“If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll be waiting the rest of your life.

You’ll never be fully ready for the things that matter. Most of the time, waiting until you’re ready is the fear talking. We’re scared that if we put our heart and soul into something it might fail. How you respond to this fear is often the difference between living a meaningful life and one filled with regret.

Good opportunities appear suddenly and disappear rather quickly. Beyond a certain point…outcomes matter less to life satisfaction than minimizing regrets. While the pain of trying something and failing sucks, it’s over rather quickly. The pain of regret, however, lingers forever.

You don’t control the outcome. You control your actions. Are you moving toward success or avoiding failure?” – Shane Parrish

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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