Apprenticeship Pattern – Create Feedback Loops

This pattern encourages the reader to pay close attention to minor details along the way when evaluating a success or failure. Apprentices commonly find themselves in complacent situations in an average team, so naturally improvement stagnates and it becomes hard to keep yourself on track. The problem is, “the less skilled you are, the worse you are at assessing the skills of yourself and others.” This indicates that it is especially hard to get started again once caught at the bottom of the barrel.

The pattern advises seeking out feedback and constantly adjusting yourself accordingly. This will help you more accurately predict success or failure and help you more efficiently improve. Being open with your work is the focus of other patterns, all apprentices should strive to be as “teachable” as possible.

The chapter classifies feedback under two categories; reinforcing and balancing. Reinforcing feedback encourages more of something, while balancing feedback encourages less of something.

In my personal case at work, I can apply feedback to the pitch I give to the average customer. For the most part, my pitch is designed to be friendly and get the customer the product they are looking for quickly. In that time, I work to fit in other deals or offers I think the customer might be suited for. This could mean higher quality products, the benefits of the best buy credit card, or becoming a member of our total tech subscription service.

At the end of the month, we are provided feedback on how much we sold and how many cards or subscriptions we put out. Some months are luckier than others, but certainly every associate starts to get better and better over time. If an associate doesn’t raise enough revenue after a few months, they receive coaching on their style of pitch. Reinforcing feedback in this case would encourage an associate to mention the subscription service to more customers, thus increasing the chances of closing one. Balancing feedback would prevent swearing and acting rowdy with coworkers in front of the customers, in an attempt to be more approachable.


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