I arrived in the Harrisburg airport late at night after a cross country flight. I retrieved my bag and got the keys to my rental car for the one hour drive ahead of me. The very pleasant person at the counter gave me better directions than I previously had, and wished me safe travels. I got in the Nissan Versa and left the rental car garage. As I merged onto the freeway, I put on the turn signal but I got nothing. No indicator lights, no noise, no nothing.
I was tired, confused, and a bit unnerved by having no indication at all if my turn signals were working. Right or wrong, since traffic was light I drove to my hotel with extra caution, but without checking my turn signals.
The next day, before beginning my drive back to the airport, I checked the turn signals. Had I just been too tired to hear the turn signals the night before? No, there was no indication of turn signal operation – light or sound – in the car at all. The lights themselves did work, so I drove back to Harrisburg without the typical indications in the car, but knowing other drivers were seeing my intentions.
When I arrived at the rental car return, I mentioned this to the agent, and she said that others had mentioned the same thing. I was so puzzled by this that I thought about it as I walked to the terminal. Why wouldn’t Nissan include feedback to the driver about the operation of their turn signals? What reason could there possibly be? And even if they had a valid reason, how could it possibly trump the need for feedback on the correct operation of the turn signals?
A few days later, as I first thought about writing this post, I went to Google to see what I could learn. What I learned was that, in some cases, a particular fuse has not been completely pressed into its socket, causing the indicator lights to not function.
This explained the puzzle – Nissan hadn’t left out the indicators at all! While I am glad that Versa drivers will know when they are using their turn signals (once the fuse is properly installed), it doesn’t really change the point of this post.
We need feedback.
We look for feedback.
And when we don’t get it when we need and expect it, our performance is adversely affected.
It is true for turn signals, and it is true in all parts of our work. The only difference is that, in some parts of our life and work, we aren’t as used to that feedback to begin with – but it doesn’t change the power and importance of it when we do have it.
Are you giving people the feedback that they want and need?
If not, have you considered how much it is adversely affecting their performance, or stunting the development of their potential?