Written by Lisa Paredes, Global Ambassador and MBA student, San Francisco Campus Class of 2017.

If I had to choose only two concepts that will follow me after Hult, those will be growth mindset and feedback. I believe these two concepts really define how I view my journey during this year and my future as an ongoing personal development process. At the beginning of this year, we debated if growth mindset could be something we were born with and if a fixed mindset could be changed. I believe it can be learned and it can be developed by the adoption of a feedback culture in the right ecosystem.

“This all changed when I came to Hult and feedback became not only a daily used word but a way to help drive development.”

That ecosystem has been created for us at Hult and magnified with our interactions during the year. But when we go out to the real world how are we going to help create this type of culture? Before coming to Hult, feedback wasn’t something I looked for. I even dreaded the moment when I had to receive some. Depending on your culture and background feedback may mean different things to you. For me, it was always a criticism and a form to point at my weaknesses. This all changed when I came to Hult and feedback became not only a daily used word but a way to help drive development.

[Tweet “#Feedback, without proper use and purpose, can become a huge amount of unused information.”]

The word feedback became popular in today’s workplace. Now we can even set up a tool to facilitate it, make time for it, even make it mandatory. However, all of this will be useless unless we help create the right culture for feedback. The first thing we should do is to ask ourselves why do we need feedback? What do we want to achieve with it? A culture of feedback sounds like a great characteristic for a company. However, without proper use and purpose, it can become a huge amount of unused information. Constant feedback is one of the ways companies can facilitate learning and development for their talent. Giving feedback is about supporting a person in their journey to increase their performance and develop new skills. Both results help the company reach its main goals and support its employees’ fulfillment.

[Tweet ” Giving #feedback is supporting a person’s journey to improve their performance and develop new skills.”]

The three elements I believe companies should invest resources in to be able to create a culture of feedback are: Trust, Communication, and Empowerment. These elements may seem very related – and they certainly are – but there are different ways to build each of them.

“A feedback culture can never be created in a company or a team where there is no trust.”

Trust
Trust is the foundation where all social interactions will be defined. A feedback culture can never be created in a company or a team where there is no trust. The whole process of giving feedback is about listening to the advice someone is giving us to become better or wanting to help someone be better at what they’re doing. None of these will happen if there is no trust between a manager and his employee or within a team. Managers and companies should be aware of the trust level they are working in and invest time in building it. Feedback given in an untrustworthy environment will only be useless information that won’t initiate any action.

Communication
When there is trust, the communication within a company or a team can have an impact and reach the desired outcome. With trust, people are open to speaking truthfully and others are open to receiving that truth. Trust must be built to have effective communication. Ways to communicate vary between cultures and personalities. It is extremely important to learn how to give feedback, as the desired outcome will depend on how it was communicated. Teaching employees how to communicate with different people will help them approach the process of giving feedback in a different and more effective way.

[Tweet “Empowerment is the catalyst for #feedback to have an impact. #PersonalDevelopment #Leadership”]

Empowerment
I believe this is the catalyst for feedback to have an impact. Giving feedback is not the end of the development process, it’s empowering the person to make a change. By supporting, checking on and motivating employees, feedback can become a powerful tool for talent development. Therefore, we talk about coaching when we talk about feedback. Coaching is the complete word to describe the whole process of giving feedback and initiating action.

Some of you may think that creating a culture of feedback is the job of HR or business leaders and don’t want to engage with it. However, no matter where you are, where you work, which technologies you may have, you will always have to interact with people. As human beings and more importantly as leaders, we must learn how to develop ourselves and others. The differentiation between long-term and short-term success is how companies can leverage their talent as their most important asset.


Lisa Paredes is a Hult MBA student from Guatemala. She was the CEO of a wine distribution company before she left to pursue her postgraduate degree in San Francisco. Her experience as a businesswoman and yoga teacher led her to her biggest passion—working with people.