Dealing with the delay

Seth Godin recently wrote about the delay; and basically the challenge of situations where there are no short feedback loops. I’ve written a lot about feedback in the workplace and how we all need to learn to be able to give feedback in order to improve the people and the world around us. Of course, one of the reason that we want to be able to do that is to help shorten the feedback loop.

After all, if you’ve bottled-up resentments against your colleagues, there’s going to be some point of time you express it through your action – whether it was some unjustified anger, or just quitting. So there is still some sort of ‘feedback’, except they become longer, looks less connected, and therefore make it harder to draw connections, even for yourself.

Recognizing the long loops requires a sensitivity to patterns and ability to draw the connections others tend not to. I’d suggest to:

  • Pay more attention to processes of how things lead on to one another
  • Make connections between trends and drivers step by step

The point isn’t to conduct sophisticated studies to establish the connections; it is more around reflecting more deeply in the flow of these processes, forward and backwards. And to also see how outcomes are driven by not just intentionality but also chance and circumstances. Identifying the role of chance and the environment will go a long way to learn more about the feedback loop.