Tag Archives: feedback

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invited feedback

Invited Feedback Is The Secret For Change

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You have experience and experience matters. When you see questions as an opportunity for feedback you jump in to give it. Feedback is often only valuable if it is invited feedback, everything else is just noise.

It can be frustrating, as a parent, a workplace leader, or a special adviser to the committee. When you have something to offer but there is not an invitation for feedback. Do you need an invitation or can you just jump in?

Jumping In

In the feedback process much is lost if the feedback doesn’t align. If you don’t understand the problem or situation your feedback may lack value and feel like a waste of time.

It is why arriving at the meeting on time is so important. Show up late, chime in even though you’ve missed the opening remarks, and everyone but you clearly can see that you don’t understand the situation. Worthless and a waste of everyone’s time.

Feedback is often conditioned by belief. If you believe that more exercise clears your mind and makes you healthy telling someone who hates to exercise may not be welcomed.

This is true for many things. It is true when you tell people to read more, listen more, or even in religious contexts, when the advice is to pray. When it doesn’t resonate with you it is not welcomed feedback.

Invited Feedback

Some people don’t care about fitness, and they don’t want to read. Forcing your ideas of engagement will create a disconnect, and worse, it may feel like a complete waste of time.

The secret then to successful feedback has at least two important factors.

First, you must understand the situation and you do this more effectively when you seek facts and assume less. And you must be able to bridge gaps in understanding and beliefs.

Invited feedback happens when there is a connection. People embrace change when they are bought-in.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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loyal customers

Who Are Your Loyal Customers?

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The importance of both internal and external customers should never be taken for granted. Often people quickly connect with the atmosphere of working with external customers but miss the emotional connection internally. Who are the loyal customers and how do we know?

Internal Customer Loyalty

Every organization has a responsibility internally. People are serving other people, other departments, and in one way or another, the sales or production effort. There are customer connections. Internal service is so important because the internal culture is always reflected, in one way or another, in the external brand.

Loyalty in an organization is often measured through the employee turnover metric. Those who stay are loyal. Those who stay have a good internal customer relationship.

Seems logical, except that many believe that they are not staying by choice, they believe they stay because it is a requirement. Requirements to earn a living, feed a family, pay bills, and survive.

External Customer Loyalty

External customers may have a different agenda. It may be easier for them to exit a relationship. There may be many competitive choices and options. In some cases, but certainly not all, they may not feel so trapped. They feel more freedom to choose.

When their automobile is not reliable, they may choose a different brand. If their athletic footwear is uncomfortable or short lived, next time they’ll try a different brand.

It is true for nearly any consumer purchase. Business-to-business is sometimes a little messier, but still doable.

Loyal Customers

So what are the indicators of loyal customers? Certainly sticking around and repetitive purchases are a good indicator. Lifetime value is an important measurement or metric. What else may be important?

Have you considered that a customer who offers feedback, even the feedback that sounds critical or like a criticism is sign of customer loyalty? Maybe you haven’t thought of it this way, but with so many choices, why bother with feedback?

People who have choices, but choose to stay are loyal for some reason. Offering feedback, even feedback that is critical may be a sign that they want to stay, but they also want to help strengthen the reasons why they stay.

Often people with nothing to say, really don’t care, they don’t mind, they’ll just go.

Feedback or criticism is often viewed as a customer about to exit. Instead, it may be a good customer who wants to stay and help you build it.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Millennial Feedback, Do They Need Something Different?

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Most employers today recognize the need and value of feedback systems. Should millennial feedback have additional considerations?

millennial feedback

When you ask employers about feedback most will tell you that they give an annual performance review. Other smaller but growing operations might suggest that although they haven’t developed an official process, they are working towards it.

Is something different needed for the millennial (gen Y) generation?

Feedback

When we start to consider the five generations that are active in our workplace today we also might want to consider some stereotypes. In many workplaces supervisory positions are often filled with earlier generation employees. They have more years of experience and often work their way into these positions.

One stereotype is that supervisors (managers, directors, et al) representing the traditional or baby boomer generations don’t give a lot of feedback. They are often described as communicating a message of, “no news is good news.”

The position they might take can also be described as, “When there is a problem I’ll let you know.”

Millennial Feedback

What might be most important for millennials? Formal feedback systems that would include the annual or semi-annual evaluation are still good, but perhaps everyone, including millennials would benefit from something more.

Some suggest that, “80 percent of Gen-Y say they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews…” While I’m not completely sure of the research methods behind that statistical expression, my informal discussions with millennials strongly reflect this trend.

Giving and receiving feedback more frequently might help every employee. Not only does it make their work more relevant it also helps solidify engagement.

Additionally, many people feel anxiety about the formal review process. When feedback is communicated more frequently, it leaves less room for surprises and helps minimize anxiety. After all, when our anxiety levels go up, our listening skills go down.

Are you or your employee teams providing the right frequency of feedback? Have they been properly trained on the best communication methods?

Does your organization need something different?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Leadership Feedback: The Give and Get of Truth

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Most employees believe that their boss has little desire for feedback. Feedback is often viewed as one way, downstream. Do you believe leadership feedback is important?

Leadership feedback dennis e. gilbert

Formal feedback systems in most organizations, if they exist at all, are delivered through the once or twice a year employee performance evaluation. Throughout the year there might be little hints of complimentary job well done feedback, or expressions of the need for rework or improvement, but is this adequate?

Most feedback systems are designed to provide feedback from the boss to the direct report. What about the boss or leader? What is their feedback system?

Is more feedback or a better system required? Would it be smart?

Employee Feedback

Employees are often expecting feedback from the leader. Actually, many of them expect the criticism to drop on them at any moment.

Organizations with the best culture are trying to make an impact with less criticism, more constructive forms of feedback, and yes the highly desirable kudos.

Feedback should be intended to help people and systems improve. Sure it can, and should be motivational, inspirational, and delivered to spring people into action.

Unfortunately, it can also create fear, which might result in action, but that action is often short lived. In addition, the long-term effects of motivation through fear can be devastating for culture.

Leadership Feedback

All of this is important, but who is giving the leader honest feedback?

Do you agree that feedback might help with leadership? If you agree, you’ll probably also agree that the feedback must be honest.

Does the leader get honest feedback? When (if) the leader asks for feedback there is a tendency from others to give the feedback they believe is desired to be heard. Therefore a difference might exist between what is given and reality.

Feedback shouldn’t be a one-way system, and it should be truthful and honest.

The leader who is willing to receive as much truth as they give might be the smartest leader of all.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Is There Anything Worse Than No Feedback?

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You’ve been waiting far too long, why haven’t you heard anything? In the scope of your workplace life some might believe that the subject of feedback is relatively unimportant, but others strongly disagree.

feedback

Have you ever been given a new job task or duty and waited for some feedback from your supervisor? Have you applied for a job and anxiously waited for some news only to hear nothing? Have you made a phone call or sent an email that was significant to you and waited for a response that never came?

Underestimated

It seems that much of our society today has grown accustom to the idea that if you don’t want to deal with something, you just let it go. You never say anything, you never respond, you just do nothing. Some believe that this is the socially accepted norm, and others want to jump out of their skin with frustration.

A lack of returned calls, return email messages, and very limited job performance feedback represent costs that are significantly underestimated in today’s workplace. Much of this could be categorized and labeled as poor communication, but what is worse than the communication aspect is that there is an enormous amount of anxiety and stress associated with organizational cultures that support this style. Of course, someone might suggest that it is only stressful if you allow it or if your expectations are too high, or with a bit of sarcasm, express that it only matters if you care.

Generational Challenges

Through people that I’ve coached or otherwise informally surveyed it would appear that the more recent workforce generations typically are not as anxious about a return telephone call or an email when compared with those generations that have been in the workforce longer. In fact, for the more recent generations we might have to dig deeper to the medium of text messaging or social media channels to find their preferred communication platform, but even there they likely don’t expect it. On the other hand, they might feel a little anxious about a lack of feedback concerning their job performance.

There is a workplace stereotype often associated with this issue suggests that baby boomer supervisor’s want a culture of no news is good news, but millennial direct reports want immediate gratification. Stereotype or not, if this is real, it signals a communication problem and when ignored or taken for granted this often leads to higher levels of anxiety, more absenteeism, and even employee turnover.

I Don’t Want Feedback

This topic wouldn’t be complete without addressing those who believe job performance feedback is their worst enemy. I’ve heard the arguments in seminars. Some believe that any feedback at all is counterproductive, but especially distasteful and unwanted is feedback that signals any kind of performance improvement. They often offer that they give their best effort to all of their work and if it isn’t good enough, then it just is-what-it-is. They offer the challenge that they would be much more motivated if people said nothing and just allowed them to continue with their work.

I challenge that if there is something wrong, incorrect, or that could be improved wouldn’t you want to know? Would you feel any embarrassment if you were producing poor or rejected work for weeks, months, or years and no one told you? Imagine everyone walking on egg shells while your ego is pleased because you’ve received no feedback. No one said you had to like it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t necessary. And with that said, yes, there is a difference between constructive feedback and negative or mismanaged feedback. Feedback experts will insist that it is not constructive criticism, it is constructive feedback.

I would like to suggest that there should be more returned calls, more email responses, and more constructive feedback.

Is there anything worse than no feedback? Sure, it is feedback that is mismanaged, but that is a different topic.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Do You Let Issues Fester?

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Are you in a leadership or supervisory role, and if so, are you timely with feedback?

 045578751-frustrated-woman-trying-read-d

During my career I’ve held several positions where I was fortunate enough to supervise employees who supervise other employees. Although some people dislike the word boss, I was the boss of other bosses. This is not sarcasm or boasting, but simply setting the stage for what I’m about to mention next.

I remember a time when several complaints about a similar issue made their way to my office. Team members knew that I liked customer feedback and they presented me with a scenario that included a front-line employee treating customers in an inappropriate manner. On this given day I also observed a displeasing attitude from the employee they referenced. I have always been a chain of command supporter and I believe that supervisors should have full responsibility and accountability for their segment of the employee population, and this employee was a direct report of my direct report.

A short time later on that same day I offered my concerns about the situation to the supervisor responsible for this area, and the response I received was that it would be addressed shortly. Unfortunately, this is not where the story ends.

Over the course of the next several days additional undesirable interactions with the front line employee and other customers occurred. Upon my later investigation into this problem I discovered that because the front line employees supervisor was “too busy” to address the problem with the employee we nearly lost a very large repeat customer. Some may argue that as the supervisor of the supervisor I should have taken more action. Eventually I did, or should I say, I had to do so, but was it too late?

Timeliness of Feedback

Everyone usually enjoys giving kudos, it is easy to offer praise, bring smiles, and make everyone feel good. Dealing with problem performers is often one of the most procrastinated supervisory duties. The right timing means everything, we can be too early or too late, but in many cases supervisors wait too long.

Procrastinating about difficult feedback situations can cause several problems, here are a few:

  • More errors or problems occur between the time of the first notification and the corrective feedback from the supervisor.
  • The effects of waiting cause the employee to be disconnected from the original problem and as a result when finally brought to their attention they lack the understanding of its importance.
  • Additional employees become involved in poor behavior because they learn from, or role model, the inappropriate actions or behaviors of others.

While these are just a few, they certainly are significant enough to support why timely feedback is so critical.

Festering Issues

When a problem or situation arises and feedback is not timely, the issues can get worse. Often well-meaning supervisors tend to gloss over issues at the expense of a weakened customer experience or increased harmful conflict and negativity within the team. Allowing issues to fester is much more costly as compared to addressing the problems or issues in a timelier manner. In addition to some of the already identified problems, supervisors who don’t take action might be repeatedly troubled by the same (and growing) problems and issues causing a loss in their own productivity and a much higher level of stress since they are repeatedly dealing with the process in their mind, but still failing to take the appropriate action. Poor performance or bad behavior continues and everyone becomes more frustrated. Frustration costs organizations deeply in high anxiety, which reduces productivity, and stifles effective communication.

Back to the presenting problem, was I too late? Yes and no. We were able to save the customer and improve the long-term performance of both the front line employee and that employee’s supervisor. However, corrective action from everyone sooner would have minimized this impact.

Don’t let issues fester. You’ll be doing everyone a favor.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Generations of Feedback

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It may be a stereotype to assume that baby boomers believe millennials are over the top on their feedback needs. Workplace professionals representing earlier generations often suggest to me one problem the latest generations bring to the workplace is the expectation of frequent and continuous feedback. Granted, societal shifts which play a significant role in framing who is in what generation, do illustrate differences between the earliest generations still active in our workforce when compared with the latest generation just now entering our workforce.

Planning work

It seems reasonable though, especially if we are in a quest for generational neutrality, that feedback quality and quantity, and the need for it, is a commonality. Some argue that too much feedback, or feedback that is not kudos deflates and weakens performance by breaking down confidence. Feedback that breaks down confidence has not been delivered, or at least not received as, being meaningful and constructive.

Here are three golden rules for feedback across all generations:

  1. Well-managed feedback improves performance. Negative feedback means mismanaged feedback. Your goal should be to help the recipient succeed. Every generation needs well-managed feedback.
  2. Timing is critical. Feedback delivered too early or too late doesn’t have the most effective impact. Timeliness is not an issue of generation; it is an issue for discipline and commitment to positive performance improvement.
  3. The feedback process is not one way. Feedback is two-way communication and should reach across all generations as well as organizational levels.

Expectations often condition our perception of outcomes, and being more forthcoming with feedback, and doing it often, will likely result in stronger relationships. Keep in mind, though, that this feedback should be both congratulatory and performance improvement oriented, but never negative, or mismanaged.

Does your generation need feedback?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker, and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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