We debrief extensively. We go through every single flight, every turn. What did you do here? What cues were you using, how did you do that, how did you make the airplane do that? And we try to learn from each experience. The reason we all do that in peace time is so that we know we’re as competent as anybody can be so that if we have to go fight with those things, we’re better than anybody else. (Elite Fighter Pilot)
How do we get feedback on our performance, and how do we make that feedback actionable? Patting ourselves or someone else on the back and saying, “Good job!”, when we both know it wasn’t doesn’t do anyone any good.
We need to be weighed in the balance. We need an honest evaluation of our performance, the bad with the good, in order to get better.
For me, it helps to have a partner or coach, or even better, a community of practice. I need people who watch me perform, who are knowledgeable in my area of performance, and whom I trust and can be vulnerable with.
It’s often hard to see ourselves in an objective light. It is helpful, if painful, to see our performance through the eyes of others.
At the same time watching them perform, or listening to their ideas of how an expert ought to perform, can teach us what to practice, how to practice, and how to perform better.
The pain of evaluation leads to the joy of success.