Feedback: A "Magic Bullet" for Performance
We could all do with listening more, especially in the workplace, couldn’t we? It can help to boost performance drastically, both by working out what your business’s customers want from your SME, and finding out how your company works: best practices; which areas suffer from a lack of resources and what employees spend most time on. Whether or not your organisation achieves its overarching objectives depends on how much feedback you collect, and where it is sourced from – doesn’t it?
There is a very strong case for collecting as much feedback as possible; that it allows you to work out precisely where your business’s strengths lie, and where it needs to improve. One can, however, put forward the argument that too much feedback prove to be disadvantageous for your SME; one could well argue that feedback, after a certain point, becomes so much background noise, which eventually drowns out that which you need to hear in a sea of static.
Think of another meaning for the word “feedback”: the distorted screeching sound of, say, an electric guitar or a microphone held too close to an amplifier or set of speakers. Whilst this might be the sort of sound you’d like to hear if you’re the guitarist in a metal band, it is probably a less desirable sound in the office of an SME.
Asking for, and trying to take on board feedback from every possible source can seem bewildering and pointless. Try to think through what it is you’re asking, and how far it will help you. Asking broad questions such as “Do you like this product?” or “How can we make this better?” can provoke a cacophony of wildly differing answers, some of far more help than others.
Instead of this, try to break your questions down into simpler components, from which you can glean far more immediately useful answers: ask questions that are specific and produce usable data such as “If you were to redesign this product, what would you change?” or “Do you use our product in conjunction with anything else to make use of it more effectively?”.
uestions like this, whilst likely to provoke a somewhat narrower range of responses, produce results that your SME will be able to make more use out of.
Likewise, constantly asking for and receiving feedback in the workplace can dilute the value of it, and turn a worthwhile activity into one that simply uses up time that could be spent better. At worst, asking employees to constantly comment on you, on one another and on their workplace can be divisive and, ultimately, harm rather than help your business.
Having said that, building feedback exercises into your work routine and that of your SME can provide a very tangible boon to you, your employees, and your relationship with your customers. Try to turn your feedback exercises into ones that work for your business.