In his remembrance, Robert Burgelman (Edmund W. Littlefield Professor of Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business) recounts a story about Andy Grove.
In January 2016, Andy’s High Output Management was reissued, and Ben Horowitz (who wrote the foreword) organized a small party at his house to celebrate Andy. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the gathering. Andy came to see me toward the end of dinner, first talking briefly with some other guests around me. Then, suddenly, he turned to me, bent over, and whispered in my ear, “You have a hearing problem…because you did not answer my question after I asked you three times.” I smiled, surprised, and said, “You still are able to spot my weaknesses.” Andy replied, “I know what you are going to do about it — nothing! And two years from now you will regret that you have wasted two years of your life.” He then flashed his friendly but slightly sardonic smile and turned away. And after that I set up a visit with an audiologist.
We interact with lot of people everyday in professional as well as personal life. Whether he is the teacher in your kid’s school talking while you are still looking at your phone or he is the doorman whose greetings you have not returned in the rush. He can even be colleague in office whose personal concerns you ignored since you are just too busy. People constantly provide feedback (positive or negative) about us – either verbal or non-verbal. It offers us unique opportunity to look at us through different lens.
We often treat it as mis-informed opinion and do absolutely nothing about it. In the end, we keep on wondering why outcomes are not favourable to us.
So, starting giving serious consideration to these little snippets of improvement opportunities. There is no need to wait for formal conversation with others, simply look around for the verbal/non-verbal cues from people around and use it to improve yourself everyday.