By Karin Hilzinger | 2 minutes reading time

At Creaholic, we believe that if you have a growth mindset you can learn something valuable from any experience. I was supposed to write a text for this blog last week and got completely sidetracked by following the US presidential race in all its nail-biting development. The planned text remained unwritten but I did learn a lot – not only about US geography and the intricacies of the election system – and I’d like to share some thoughts.

Appreciative feedback is powerful – for the receiver and the giver

I was impressed by the way that prime time anchors at one network thanked people in the field for their input. Most of the anchors specifically named the effort that people put in and the value that work added to their common goal.

For instance, they said things like “Thank you, Maria, this is excellent fact gathering and helps our viewers understand how….” or “Thank you, Robert, it must be hard standing there for hours to make sure that XY happens/does not happen”. On the receiving end of this kind of feedback, you feel that the givers know what your work actually entails, that they value not a role but your specific effort and that you yourself have contributed to a bigger mission. As the giver, you foster engagement and motivation in your collaborators.

Leadership is not something you wear, it is something you model

If you want a certain culture and behaviour to be alive and kicking in your company and radiate positively to the outside world, you better embody it in your daily actions and interactions.

I personally find it’s a really bad look if you ask your people to work on the weekend because there’s a crisis going on and you yourself go golfing. Even if you have not the skills needed to do the job that needs to be done and thus are not directly useful in the room, at least show up and bring them sandwiches, figuratively speaking.

Working with personas is good – validating your hypothesis with your target group is better

Segmentation and customer/user/employee personas are great tools to remind us who we actually work for. But they are very blunt tools: they tend to lump together often wildly different people and attitudes under one flashy title based on more or less pertinent criteria. This allows you to presume that you know what the whole group thinks and feels.

Here’s an example: Democrats thinking Latinos would “automatically” tend towards them because of the acting President’s stand on e.g. immigration and minorities’ rights. And since they were all on the same page already, no need to put in a targeted effort, right? While some of this group seemed to correspond to persona, others in the group probably wanted to be seen and have their needs addressed by – dare I say – anyone with influence at all. In some parts of the country, team red managed this to better effect, which showed on the ballots.

It’s helpful to develop ideas based on personas, but at a certain point, you might want to check in and get feedback from your target group itself to make sure you’re on the right track.

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