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American Idol Savvy: Cut and Paste Feedback

IdolIt’s not uncommon for the judges to give what seems like contradictory feedback.

“Don’t mess with the melody” and “Put your own twist on the melody.” “That song was too big for you” and “You played it safe and didn’t stretch yourself.”

The contestants get frustrated, “But you told me last week…”

While I feel some of the judges’ feedback is confusing and contradictory, the contestants’ real problem is their own “cut and paste” response to the feedback.

It’s as if their only goal for the next performance is responding to the judges’ most recent criticism. I call this approach, “cut and paste,” because it ignores both the context of the original feedback and the multi-faceted challenges of the next performance. They try to apply what does not fit; like a child trying to add some trees to his or her picture of the city by cutting out a picture of the Amazon jungle and pasting it onto the urban scene.

Any feedback interpreted out of context or applied too literally is bound to miss the point of providing helpful insight. Insight is not the same as answers. Incorporating valuable feedback into your thinking and planning does not release you from the need to think and plan.

In what ways are you similar to these aspiring performers?

They have trouble discerning the valuable feedback worth thinking about from the rude, vague or superficial comments which they should ignore.

They too literally and too simplistically try to apply the feedback from one context to the next. Any performance has a multitude of vocal and performance issues to consider… not just one.

How do you respond to feedback?

Can you tell the difference between feedback about specific, performance-based behaviors that you can do something about and rude, vague or superficial comments over which you have no influence?

Can you take a step back and think critically about your next project, so that you benefit from the feedback you received last time without being consumed or blinded by it?

Leave a comment or share a fun example of cut and paste feedback in your office.

On your side,

- Karl

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