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Love Thy Critics

You have to love your critics. CareerFuel is one of several business ideas I have pursued over the years.

Eighteen years ago, I presented an idea for a new franchise offering healthy and delicious food to Bill Patterson, a friend of my in-laws.  Bill owned hundreds of Burger King franchises, had been President of the Franchise Association and a member of the Burger King Board of Directors.  After reviewing my business plan and tasting my product, Bill said “the reason Burger King is number two is because of McDonalds’ french fry.  Despite decades of research and millions of dollars, Burger King has never found a way to make a better one”.  He then went on to explain that “when people are on the road and stop for a bite, they are looking to be indulged”.  My children definitely agree with that perspective.

Bill certainly did not tell me what I wanted to hear, but it was very good feedback.  His honesty saved me additional time and money.

Three years later I came up with the idea for ResearchItNow.com, a company that would enable focus groups to be done online.  Several marketing colleagues had the courage to tell me that even though web-based research made economic sense, they liked getting out of the office and travelling to focus groups.  Again, helpful advice from the customers I would be selling to.  On to the next idea!

Chris French, CareerFuel’s financial advisor, begins nearly every conversation with me with the words “here is where you have it wrong, AnnMarie”.  He is one of the brightest people I know, so those words combined with the insights that follow are enormously helpful.

My point is, whether starting a business or job hunting, the people who have the guts to tell you what is not working—be it the idea, the execution, the resume, interview skills, etc.,—are more valuable than the ones who tell you what you want to hear.

Ask someone to hit you between the eyes with feedback.  And then send them a thank you note.  It can make all the difference in your career opportunities.

Learning how to give and receive feedback is a vital part of professional growth. How do you handle feedback?

How do you react to your critics?

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