Giving feedback doesn’t work; strengths, not weaknesses, offer growth opportunities. Listen to hear how Lionel Messi became one of the world’s best football players.
Welcome to the last episode of Anecdotally Speaking for 2022, our holiday special! We’re taking a short, three-week break, but we will be back to add more stories to your repertoire on Tuesday, the 17th of January, 2023!
This week, Mark shares a story about feedback featuring professional footballer Lionel Messi. He and Shawn were inspired to share it after seeing Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall’s article, The Feedback Fallacy, listed as one of twelve HBR editors’ favourites in Celebrating a Century of Harvard Business Review. Mark references this video of Messi.
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For your story bank
Tags: coaching and feedback, feedback, growth, learning, opportunity, progress
This story starts at 05:06
Lionel Messi grew up in a small town in Argentina, and he was a great football player from a young age. So much so that Barcelona scouted and invited him to their development camp as a teenager.
The team recognised that he had talent but felt there were areas where he could improve. They thought he was too small and needed to bulk up. And they saw that he could only dribble well with his left foot, not his right.
But after some time at the camp, Messi was on the verge of quitting. He was not enjoying it.
So the team changed their tact. They took Messi off the growth hormones they’d been giving him. They told him how talented he was and that his left foot was incredible. And they gave him two instructions: wherever you are on the field, be dangerous, and make your left foot the best in the world.
In 2015, at the Copa del Rey Final, Messi scored what is now considered one of the best goals of all time. He started from the field’s halfway line and got the ball past several defenders to score. He touched the ball 21 times over the run, 19 times with his left foot and twice with his right.
The other players knew he didn’t have a right foot, but he was too good to let them get in the way of his left foot.
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