crit-i-cism [krit-uh-siz-uhm] noun

Thomas Sumner - Business Development Specialist

November 2013 – Criticism is often viewed as a word that is associated with negativity. I disagree…

When I was growing up my parents held themselves to the highest of standards. Their expectations were driven by the constant ideal of improvement and being the best one can be. With those values being instilled in me, being ‘good’ or even ‘great’ was only good enough if my true potential was reached. My mother encouraged me that the only way to continue down the path of improvement was to understand my current faults by identifying, addressing, and then remedying them.

Naturally, growing up with this philosophy I developed an ability to consciously critique myself. I had a method of analyzing my current state of being, deciding if there were areas where additional effort could be made, designing a plan of attack and then executing that plan. By embracing this method, I was able to pursue improvement without fear of outside criticism. The idea that I could so easily control who and what I become by openly accepting the fact that “YES, there are things that I can and WILL do better” inspired and empowered me.

When I started working at COACT, I quickly learned that my philosophy can be used in my career as well. I was on a lunch meeting with our President not too long ago, and he explained to me the concept of we use throughout our COACT sales system called RPM – Review, Preview, and Make decisions. We review past efforts, look at various options for the future, and make educated and informed decisions about how to proceed down the path of business growth and prosperity. We believe that looking back on past failures and successes empowers us with knowledge for the future, and an insight on how to become better.

In today’s world consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and selective of the products and services they choose to use or purchase every day. A company is most vulnerable at the peak of its success; that point at which people stop self-evaluating, innovating, and lose the motivation for continuous improvement to create greater value for their clients. After all, they’re successful.

I think Thomas Edison said it best when asked about his failures in inventing the light bulb, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” No matter how many years of experience you might have, how many books you may have read or how well versed in your company’s delivery model you might be, self-evaluation will shine light on greater possibilities for the future. If used correctly, the possibilities are endless.

Questions or Comments? Please contact Thomas Sumner at