Thursday, October 2, 2014

SpearDodging

One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is inviting and dissecting feedback.

Many leaders abhor (and avoid) the act of inviting feedback from internal/external customers, to their own demise.  Collecting what Peter Senge calls the "soft data" is critical, and it occurs most often through person-to-person feedback loops.

Leaders who expose themselves to feedback by actually venturing out of the office or extracting themselves from behind a computer screen will most assuredly receive it.  How we receive it is critical to the success of our organization.  When we invite feedback we should be prepared to hear more bad than good.  That is the natural order of things.  We should listen carefully to both.  Typically, customer engagement and feedback occurs at the extremes of the "happiness" continuum.  Folks who are raving fans and folks who are *&#%ed off puppies are the ones that will make the most noise.  Understand that going in.  Strategic care should be taken to hear the voices of those between those extremes as well.

Engaging in the feedback loop is not and should not be only about hearing the plus/deltas in relation to our work.  Face-to-face or person-to-person engagement is as much about building or repairing or bolstering relationships as it is about hearing praise and/or complaints.

Folks that are heard, really heard, generally are much more willing to join our team or remain on our team or market on behalf of our team.

The ones that feel unheard will sharpen up the spears and begin heaving them our way, with amazing relentlessness.

We can spend all our time dodging spears, or we can begin a conversation with the spear throwers.  Either way, they're gonna get our attention.

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