LOL, ROTFL, and Loop Closing


Feedback is defined as “a system of loops that connect communication and action.  Individuals provide messages to others, who then respond to those messages in some way.  The response closes the loop, providing communicators with information about how their messages were received.”  Facebook gives us the opportunity to send messages and post feedback in the form of comments, and we often use shorthand like LOL (laughing out loud) or ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing) to respond.  These are usually hyperbole (although you may have laughed audibly, when was the last time you literally rolled on the floor laughing?), but they do convey a positive response to the person who sent the message.

Unfortunately, sometimes leaders can practice facebook-style communication.  They share the vision, then sit back and wait for positive comments and productive compliance.  Positive feedback feels great, but is only half of what is needed for success.

To be successful, an organization needs both positive and negative feedback.   Often, negative feedback seeks to reestablish high expectations or quality.  This type of feedback often stings, but whether the complaint is completely true or an emotional, exaggerated reaction, there is truth in the individual’s perception, and they are making an effort at loop closing.  It may not be what we want to hear, but we need it to genuinely evaluate the organization’s vision, strategies, and communication.  Does your organization invite both types of loop-closing feedback, or is it clear that leaders want you to be their BFF who <3s everything they do?


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