Everyone’s a critic
Every child approaches report card day with one of two emotions: dread or excitement. Struggling students dread hearing what they’ve known all along—that they’re doing poorly in an academic subject (or two). The excited students are eager to share their success with parents, and even brag to their fellow classmates.
Adult life is no different, though letter grades typically morph into pass/fail grades. We dread hearing the answer “no” when we don’t get the response we’re expecting from the client, or don’t win the project bid, or get turned down for a promotion or raise. Most people tend to take criticism and learn from it—we learn from our mistakes in order to do a better job next time.
If that feedback never comes, then we don’t know where to improve. Though many of you might argue that you get feedback daily in the form of signed contracts or customer testimonials, our work is sometimes sent out into the ether without any response. It’s frustrating, and can reduce our motivation to almost nil.
While it’s impossible for each of us to walk around and quantitatively research every thing we do, we absorb responses from our peers, supervisors, loved ones, clients, and even strangers. It’s human nature to react to these interactions negatively or positively. Too bad we can’t ask each of these people we interact with to grade us on how we’re doing.
On the other hand, I can ask YOU to grade Consulting-Specifying Engineer on how we’re doing. Using quantitative data, we will improve the print publication, the digital edition, and Web content. Based on your reactions and responses, we’ll learn from our mistakes in order to better serve you. To reward you for your time, we’re offering three $50 gift cards for completing this feedback survey. Please tell us how we’re doing at www.csemag.com/2014feedbacksurvey.
We’ve already received this kind of feedback in other places. For example, our most recent research, the Fire & Life Safety Study, provides us with insights into the fire protection market and tells us about the types and sizes of projects you’re working on. By studying this data, we now know that we need to provide our audience with more information about codes and standards, and details on how to work with local authorities having jurisdiction. You may download the results of this study—and several others—at www.csemag.com/research.