“Truly great leaders spend as much time collecting and acting upon feedback as they do providing it.” ~Alexander Lucia
“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” ~Ken Blanchard
One of the most effective ways of determining the health and success of a company or
department is what feedback mechanisms they have in place. Most
departments/companies have processes for directing feedback down the career
ladder which is very important. It’s vital that the front line employees
understand what management is looking for from a numbers and performance
However, that is only half of the story. Great companies and departments have
processes in place for feedback to go back up the career ladder, both from the
customers (the second most common) and the employees (the least common). Your
customers and employees are your BEST SOURCE for information on how to continue
to improve and succeed. Those that listen to their employees and customers
best, typically react quicker to changing market conditions than their
To make this effective, two things are needed just like they are when feedback is directed
from management to employees. It needs to be structured and action needs to be
- Structured – Whether it be quarterly 360 degree feedback, monthly staff brainstorming sessions, or a weekly review of the suggestion box, there needs to be a timeline and a setting.
- Actionable – Post your action plan for all to see, and measure your success during the next meeting. These two things will ensure you are held accountable.
- Structured – Consolidate feedback to a meeting or report that is not more frequent than once a week. Any more frequent than that and the feedback loses its impact and just becomes noise. Given the importance, this meeting or report should be headed by the highest ranking member of management possible.
- Actionable – Each item mentioned by customers should be assigned to a leader for action. If there was a failure, the remedy should be addressed. If there is an opportunity mentioned, it should be explored. In either case, it is best that there are answers given BEFORE the next week’s feedback is discussed. Again, by having the most senior member of management leading this, you ensure better results and accountability.
So make sure that you are receiving as much or more feedback than you are giving to stay
ahead of the competition, give you valuable visibility into your operation, and
ultimately to succeed.