Ask For Feedback – Day Twenty-Four

Ask For Feedback

Ask For FeedbackOne of the tools that can move you forward quickly as a leader is feedback.  Honest constructive feedback from those you work with and around is day twenty-four’s step in growing your small business in 30 days.  Today we’ll cover the important points of asking for and receiving feedback.

Ask For Feedback

A great step towards growing personally as a leader is when you ask for feedback.  This is valuable for a few different reasons.  The first being that you show humility to your team and you let them know that you are open to hearing their honest thoughts about how you are doing, the business is doing, and honest feedback about the customers and vendors that you work with.  Each different group that we discuss below can give you valuable and different feedback.  The important part is that you get to see a different perspective than just your own.  You open the door for honest communication which is key in any good relationship.

1. From Your Team

Feedback from your team is probably the most valuable place to start asking for feedback.  Team members see you, the customers, the vendors, and the projects that you all work on.  They may be more in tune to needs or positive points than you realize.  It is also important to allow for an open relationship where they can share their honest feelings and thoughts in a productive and respectful manner.  To get the ball rolling try these steps:

  • Send out a brief 5 question survey asking for their opinion.  Be sure it has a due date.
  • After the survey schedule one on one meetings with each team member.  Keep the meetings light and encouraging.  Don’t get personally offended and keep an open mind when they share what they think.
  • Have a team brain storming meeting.  Now that your team knows it’s ok to share what they think it will be good to collaboratively discuss goals, plans, and issues that may be going on.

Remember as the leader you need to serve the needs of your company and your team.  Be sure to set aside your pride and feelings.  Work hard to understand what your team is trying to share with you.  Contemplate it carefully before responding.  They may be right or they maybe wrong, but either way their feedback is incredibly valuable.  You’ll need it now and in the future, so set a new tone of open communication by asking for their feedback.

2. From Your Customers

It can be very scary to ask your customers for feedback if you’ve never done this before.  It may seem daunting at first, but in the end you’ll find that you’ll gain incredible insights from your customers.  Remember, just like you had to do with your team, set aside your pride and your feelings and truly listen to what they say.  If they are respectful and kind then it’s worth listening to them.  Here are a few steps to get started:

  • Send out a survey.  Keep it very brief since everyone is busy and the shorter your survey the more responses you’ll get.  When writing the survey think about the important pieces of information you need from your customers in order to grow.
  • Ask your top customers for a meeting.  If you can have just a few minutes of their time and short list of questions you can learn more about what you and your team should be improving on.
  • Review the feedback personally and then with your team.  There will definitely be things you can learn and with the combined insight from your team you can make this information incredibly valuable to your small business.

3. From Your Vendors

Asking for feedback from vendors is something that you may have never considered doing.  If you haven’t ever asked your vendors for feedback on your interaction and performance with them it will be incredibly refreshing to them.  You’ll also create a bond with them that they won’t have with their other customers.  To get started, just try these few questions and listen carefully to their answers:

  • Is there anything that we are missing and could change to make your job easier?
  • Do you feel like you are getting accurate information when we are ordering products or services from you?
  • Is there anything else you can give me feedback on?  I value your opinion.

Getting valuable feedback from these three groups of people will prove to be incredibly eye opening and valuable.  Although it might be scary at first, in the end if your goal is to grow your small business then you’ll be surprised and pleased with the results of this exercise.  Take the first step today and survey your team and customers.  After that you can put the rest of these action steps in play.

You’ll be glad you did.

Cut Your Losses And Move On

If you are like me, at some point after taking a step to evaluate a situation, an employee, or a project, you realize that it’s not going well.   It’s time to end the person’s employment, kill the project, or step in and change the situation.  I think we all realize we need to make a change fairly quickly after seeing lack of results or the wrong results, but the tough question is; can we act quickly enough to salvage the good out of the experience?

Waiting To Act Just Means You Are Approving Of Bad Behavior

As hard as it is to cut your losses and move on, there are a few things that over time have helped me learn to move more quickly when I realize that there needs to be a change.  Think about the example of when you need to terminate someones employment with your company.  When we choose to delay that action these are just some of the bad results that can occur:

  • When we don’t act it clearly states to others on the team that the bad behavior and lack of results that we are not dealing with is behavior that is acceptable.
  • When we don’t act we are communicating to the rest of the team that we don’t care about the good work and good decisions they are making.
  • When we don’t act we are allowing non productive staff to zero out much of, if not all of, the progress that productive staff make.
  • When we don’t act we are lying to the individual who needs correction.  We lie in our actions by allowing their behavior to continue which unless we correct they have every right to believe it is acceptable.

There are hundreds of bad results that occur when I choose not to act.  Just like everyone else, I really don’t enjoy the first step in confronting others.  It’s something that makes me uncomfortable and even though I’ve done it hundreds if not thousands of times by now, it still takes courage to step forward and confront the issues.

Think About Everyone Else

When I am having trouble taking the first step to correct the situation and I need some motivation I think about everyone else.  First, if I don’t act in confronting the person responsible for the mistakes then I don’t really care about them.  If I do care about someone then I must be willing to talk about the tough issues with them too.  I also must consider the rest of the team and how they are affected by my lack of leadership or my positive leadership.  My team as a whole is way more important to me then one individual and definitely more important than my own feelings of wanting to avoid the situation.  Get motivated by thinking about others needs not just your own wants.

Set A Date

If you’ve realized that there is something you need to confront, set the date.  Schedule a meeting to sit down with the person.  If it’s another problem or situation then schedule time with your team to tackle the problem together.  Don’t let time slip by and kill any more productivity or positive growth.  Take action today.

I never worry about action, but only inaction.

~ Winston Churchill

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