"I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are. And, did you learn anything? "
So said the voice of the late Earl Woods in the slightly creepy Nike ad that debuted just prior to the Masters last week.
The question, of course, was directed at his son Tiger, whose indiscretions and accompanying fall from grace have been impossible to miss (and which overshadowed all but the final moments of a golf tournament that—you may be surprised to learn—was won by someone else yesterday).
No matter what you may think of Woods on a professional or personal level—or the issues of taste involved in splicing quotes to create an ad campaign around the concept of a dead parent expressing disappointment in the actions of their adult offspring—the question is one that we could all benefit by asking ourselves and those around us more often.
It's very easy to ignore the issues of feedback and personal growth in the workplace—and especially now, when we're all trying to do more with less, all the time. As tempting as it can be to just move onto the next item on your checklist, taking the time to acknowledge each setback or piece of progress with a question similar to the one that seems to have greeted Tiger on a regular basis on his road to the top can make the difference between repeating a mistake and acknowledging and learning from it.