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Communication Adaptability -- Part 5: Self-correction

Posted 6 years ago

In this series, Dr. Tony Alessandra explores the attributes of people who are highly adaptable.  In this installment, Dr. Tony explores the adaptability attribute of self correction. What does self correction really mean? How do you develop the objectivity necessary to first see the issue, then correct it? Self-correction  means the ability to initiate change and evaluate the results. It means you ask for feedback, and have a mindset that’s about problem solving, not about the need to be right. It means being able to see when you’ve developed a non-productive pattern in your behavior. Or being able to say: “I think this approach isn’t working, I’d better try something different.
Self-correction is based on negative feedback. When things are going well, we generally don’t think about changing anything. It’s only when something goes wrong, or we recognize the potential for it going wrong, that we decide to make corrections. This is the phenomenon of negative feedback –feedback that’s based on receiving negative information. A very simple example is the big toe on your right foot. You probably weren’t thinking about it until I mentioned it. If you had stubbed your toe just now, and it was throbbing, you’d be thinking about it and how to take care of it. That’s the principle of negative feedback.
It seems unfortunate but true that we learn mainly by making mistakes. Buckminster Fuller was an architect, inventor and philosopher – his most well known contribution is the geodesic dome. In the many books he wrote in his later life, one theme was constant. Fuller emphasized over and over that human beings learn only through mistakes. The billions of human beings in history have made quadrillions of mistakes – that’s the only way we’ve arrived at the knowledge that we have.
Fuller pointed out that humans might have been so mortified by the number of mistakes we’ve made that we would have become too discouraged to continue with the experiment of life. But fortunately, we have a built-in sense of pride in the fact that we can learn, and we have the gift of memory that allows us to keep somewhat of an inventory on our mistakes. That prevents us from repeating all of them over and over again.
When you possess the trait of self-correction, or sometimes it’s called “course-correction,” you’re able to learn from your mistakes. You also get better and better at spotting the need for change before disaster strikes. It’s similar to being able to monitor symptoms of dis-ease in your body before they turn into serious problems.
“I made a mistake.” “I went off on a tangent.” “I got off on the wrong foot.” Those are each ways of acknowledging that we tried something that didn’t work out as we’d planned. If you find that you’re not saying those kinds of things very often or at all, it might mean your versatility is low, or it might mean you’re not trying anything new. As Bucky Fuller says, it’s the reason we were given two feet – to make a mistake first to the left and then to the right and over and over again. It’s only by self-correcting at every step we take that we’re able to walk in a somewhat straight direction.


tony alessandraDr. Tony Alessandra has a street-wise, college-smart perspective on business, having been raised in the housing projects of NYC to eventually realizing success as a graduate professor of marketing, internet entrepreneur, business author, and hall-of-fame keynote speaker. He earned a BBA from Notre Dame, a MBA from the Univ. of Connecticut and his PhD in marketing from Georgia State University (1976).
Known as “Dr. Tony” he’s authored 30+ books and 100+ audio/video programs. He was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame (1985) and Top Sales World’s Hall of Fame (2010).  Meetings & Conventions Magazine has called him “one of America’s most electrifying speakers”.
Dr. Tony is also the Founder/CVO of  Assessments 24×7.  Assessments 24×7 is a leader in online DISC assessments, delivered from easy-to-use accounts popular with business coaches and Fortune 500s around the world.  Interested in learning more about these customized assessment accounts? Watch this short animated video!