The Importance of Feedback to Improve Performance- Part 2
Many people might think of the word feedback as a negative thing, but feedback can and should be both positive and constructive. Every conversation, email and discussion we have with anyone at work or outside of work will contain feedback and it is valuable in helping individuals to grow and develop.
Feedback should always be given from a place of wishing the receiver to learn, develop and be brilliant. Yes it is the strapline of Jarrold Training, but essentially it is true for feedback as well. It should be given from a place of helping the other person to grow and as such should never feel like a difficult thing to do. It should always be to drive performance.
Feedback Helps you Understand your Customers – both Internal and External
Feedback is essential in helping individuals to understand what their customers need, whether this is their internal customers with whom they work every day or the external customers who are served by the organisation. Feedback from both sets of customers enables the individual to know whether they are performing at the standards expected of them and helps to highlight any areas they could improve or develop. In the same way, it is important that we also seek feedback from your external customers – this could be in the form of a survey for example – giving your customers the chance to evaluate the communications we send to them and make any suggestions for improvements.
It is also a truly brilliant opportunity if a customer takes the time to give you the kind of feedback you might instinctively not wish to receive. An error, a mistake, a piece of work which is absolutely sub-standard should all be received with genuine thanks for it being brough to your attention as it gives the chance to then rectify the situation which might well be something you would not have discovered yourself. Again it helps us to Learn, Develop and Be Brilliant.
The THANK-U model is a perfect way to respond to such customer feedback which was developed by Elliot Symonds.
Feedback Aids Learning and Development
Feedback is an important tool in helping individuals to learn and develop through their roles and careers. By working with others to encourage and discuss feedback, you learn to understand different perspectives, opinions and ways of thinking which ultimately helps you to perform better. Feedback can be knowledge sharing between different individuals, it could be
a colleague teaching you a new skill or helping you to understand how to use a particular piece of software better in order to enhance the results you achieve. A line manager could feedback to an individual that they would like them to enhance their design work by using software such as InDesign and would like them to receive training in the programme. If the individual then undertakes a training course in this, they have not only learnt new knowledge and skills but have also developed their understanding of design which will certainly be of benefit to them in the future.
Feedback Drives Innovation and New Thinking
As discussed earlier, well conducted feedback can help drive alternative ideas. Especially when linked with other problem solving techniques like DRIVE and Green Light Thinking (Discordant Ideation) It can be easy to continue carrying out processes and tasks in your role or organisation in the same way you have always carried them out. If it works then why change it? This is where feedback can help to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and perhaps try a new way of undertaking a task or process. By assessing that task or process in collaboration with other team members or your line manager, then you can evaluate what is and isn’t working – with feedback from others in the group – and then set about coming up with potential new ways to approach it. Generating ideas and brainstorming as a team will encourage feedback and assessment of the proposed new ideas, working through each one until you arise at the best solution. Provided it has been subject to a rigorous selection process and evaluation of the options, this solution should drive productivity and enhance performance.
Feedback is Essential to Evaluating
However self-critical you might be, it is impossible to properly evaluate a task or project without feedback from others. When evaluating something in isolation it can be tempting to only focus on the negatives of what didn’t work but evaluating with feedback from others will encourage you to look at both the positives and the negatives. Different people in different roles as part of the project will be likely to pick up on different aspects of how it worked and will see things from alternative perspectives in order to make the evaluation as widely-representative as possible. You may not spot an area for improvement if you are so focussed on one area of the project but someone else working on a different area can provide feedback to highlight this, which may help boost performance of the project.
To conclude, feedback is essential in improving performance and should always be focussed towards driving performance standards – not dwelling on negativity but always looking for what can be learned. Feedback is about solutions and innovation which are both critical to improving performance. Without feedback, performance stalls and becomes stagnant because there is no push to improve or change. Feedback can be motivating to improve the good performance that is already happening or it can be constructive criticism with the aim of driving underperformance back to reach the required standard. Feedback is essential in bringing about change and innovation, without it things just stay the same and standards drop. Feedback must be encouraged to take both teams and individuals to the next level of performance – it is about evaluating and always looking for how things can be improved. Feedback in the workplace has a sole purpose which is to drive performance – helping individuals, teams and organisations to gain the edge which keeps them ahead of their competitors.