Anova’s Values Blog Series – Feedback: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Anova Consulting believes that one of the keys to success lies in the ability to adapt and learn from the challenges we face. These shared beliefs, essentially our corporate ethos, are values we strive to put into action every day. This is the sixth in a series of blogs that explore Anova’s values through the lens of people we feel embody them.

Feedback is present in nearly every worthwhile endeavor. One great example of someone who truly embraces feedback as a gift is the multitalented Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is best known as the creator of the hit musicals In the Heights and Hamilton. But his passion for telling great stories and writing great songs began long before his Broadway success. As a teenager, he would write and perform for family and friends, constantly seeking feedback and constructive criticism from anyone offering it.

In interviews, Miranda has spoken about feedback—both giving it and receiving it—as an integral part of the creative process. He once said, “Your critics are the ones who tell you what you need to hear. The praise doesn’t mean anything.”

A striking example of Miranda’s appreciation for feedback came during the development of Hamilton. During a workshop of the show, he was struggling to write a pivotal moment in the second act. He shared his frustration with director Thomas Kail, who offered him tough love: “You can’t tell people Alexander Hamilton’s entire life story in one song. Figure out what’s important.”

Miranda took Kail’s advice to heart and ultimately wrote the show-stopping number “It’s Quiet Uptown,” which beautifully captures the grief and healing of the Hamilton family after the death of their son.

Miranda’s willingness to embrace feedback doesn’t just apply to his creative work. He’s also been open about his struggles with anxiety and depression and how therapy and feedback have helped him manage those challenges. In an interview with GQ, he said, “The biggest thing that therapy has taught me is the act of listening, whether it’s to my wife, my cast mates, or my collaborators; really, really listening and taking in the information that is being given to you, instead of just waiting for your turn to speak.”

Here at Anova, we share Miranda’s belief that feedback is truly a gift. It’s an integral part of our process, whether we’re conducting win / loss surveys, or customer satisfaction research. We know that sometimes feedback can be tough to hear and difficult to process. But we also know that it’s essential.