Our Founder & CEO was recently on WRXR News (live!) with morning news anchor Kathrynn Stone, Lynda Foster of Cortex Leadership, and Samantha Steidle, Innovation Officer at Virginia Western. Following that news segement the the business leaders engaged in a Facebook live discussion, to elaborate on the ideas and themes shared on air.
The topic of discussion was the “Gig Economy” and how many Americans are turning to a “side hustle” to supplement their day job. During the course of the discussion, Lynda brought up avoiding the echo chamber as you hustle hard and work to move your side gig to your full time source of employment.
So what is an echo chamber anyways? It is surrounding yourself with “yes men” (or women) who will consistently tell you that your ideas are awesome, wonderful, and flawless. Essentially, your ideas bounce around from person to person without being shaped or refined. While a nice stroke to the ego, it is not a wise way to seek counsel or feedback.
“The quality of questions a leader is asking, and who they are asking them to, is vital for successful outcomes,” Lynda explained. “Many times questions are asked in order to gain confirmation that what you are about to do is the right way to go. Questions geared to gain information and actually spur debate sound different.” She suggested asking how an idea could not work instead of asking if an idea is good; the former invites a different perspective and encourages opposition, whereas the latter only wants confirmation. “This simple pivot is the key to escaping the echo chamber that so many leaders live within,” she concluded.
Lynda’s comments were specific to being a business leader and entrepreneur but our team couldn’t help but transfer the concept to how we work creatively, each and every day. For us, avoiding the creativity echo chamber is paramount to marketing and communications success.
Here at Blue Mobius Marketing one of our values is maintaining a healthy balance of confidence and humility. You must be confident enough to present an awesome idea, but humble enough to accept feedback and constructive criticism for said idea. When we allow others to pushback and prune on our ideas, they become better.
A key to this is fostering a safe environment that supports creative expression by finding solutions instead of only finding criticism. This can be hard, because creative work often comes from a very deep, personal place. Realizing constructive criticism of a creative idea is not a personal critique of you or your skills can be challenging to embrace, but it is so freeing once you are able to do so.
In our office, we’re not afraid of real-life talk. We ask each other hard questions, not in the hopes of starting & winning a debate, but instead hoping to think better and deeper about all topics. We like the gray areas: situations and ideas without black-or-white answers, where we can dive deep and explore complexities. When we can think together on non-marketing related topics, it primes us to do the same for our work products: pushing creativity and intention further and further until the finished product is exceptional.
Part of our hiring process is seeking individuals who are deep thinkers, empathetic, and eager for feedback. Filling our team with brilliant minds who realize creativity cannot exist in a vacuum is one of our hiring strategies.
As you consider the people you surround yourself with–in work and in the bigger picture of life–are you open to eliminating the echo chamber and asking for the type of constructive feedback that will push you towards excellence?