You might never give feedback again
Never Give Feedback Again
You may be surprised to see me advising you not to give any more feedback. But I am. What I am going to tell you about will make performance management, performance reviews and performance itself much better.
The reason is that, although feedback is THE best way to improve performance, there are often much better ways of making sure that people get it than giving it to them yourself.
In my interview a couple of weeks ago with Mel Stephenson we went through the amazing performance improvements he has achieved by cutting out all the middle men and letting people have direct access to the feedback they need.
Find out how he did it here:
Get the MP3 of my interview with Mel Stephenson
Feedback is Information
Feedback is, after all, just information. It’s a special kind of information, but it is still information. Just as boiled eggs, fried eggs and soufflés are still eggs.
What Feedback Is
Information about the results of what you have said and done that enables you to make a decision on what to do next.
A Great Question
What Mel has done is to ask this question:
“How do you know how well you’re doing your job?”
What is your answer? Do you need someone to tell you? Or can you easily identify the effectiveness of all your actions as you complete them?
The Essence of Feedback
This is the essence of feedback. Knowing straight away if what you are doing has worked or not.
In the interview Mel goes into a great deal more detail on what he has done in his own company, working with each individual to take this management tool to the extreme.
What Pure Feedback Does
Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
“You know that if people get that feedback then they have a good sense of being in control. If they’ve got a good sense of being in control they’re going to be relaxed. If they’re relaxed they’re going to be a pleasure to work with and a pleasure for the customers to deal with as well. And all of that leads to a nice harmonious working relationship and therefore from that you should get a more profitable company.”
“Your role as a manager is to make sure people are getting the feedback they need, not to give it to them. So that they are in control of getting that feedback because then you cut yourself out of the loop, they get it much more quickly and they can respond much more quickly. And it seems like this is exactly what you’ve done.”
“…..and allowing the individuals who are doing the job and know the best to have visibility on the impact of their actions in order to free up management from not back seat driving….. “
Back Seat Driving
Yes, giving feedback can be like backseat driving. If you are not careful, you end up getting between people and the information. Imagine driving blindfold with someone on the back seat telling you what is going on and what to do – I doubt if you’d like it very much.
Just this weekend I watched a video of a young friend of mine having his first go at driving a car. Both his mother and father were in the car. One telling him to stop, the other to keep going.
Watching the video we were all laughing. But imagine a situation where two different managers are telling the same person different things. Sadly it’s not that hard to imagine.
To get the recording of this interview, go here.
Of course there are times when you do need to give feedback personally. But before you do this, see if you can work out how the individual could get the feedback themselves.
Even in difficult behaviour situations, it may be more possible than you think.
Put Them In The Driving Seat
Eva, one of my clients, had a ‘sandwich student’ working for her for a year. Alan had very poor interpersonal skills and was particularly bad in meetings, but seemed to be unaware of this. He would stare at the table, hardly speak and not participate.
I suggested to Eva that she ask Alan to take on a two-week assignment to identify what he thought were effective and ineffective meeting behaviours simply by observing what was going on in the meetings he was in.
Two weeks later, Alan came to see Eva. His first words were: “I’m really bad in meetings.” He then went on to outline what he was doing to improve.
The Future of Feedback
Double Your Profits – Recording
In it you will find:
- How he has reduced his working time to one day a week
- How he has reduced time spent in meetings
- The unbelievable difference in performance from his team
- The actual figures
- What got him started on the route to improvement
- The steps he went through
- How to get people to work on doing the right things
- How he makes sure people get the feedback they need
- How he has found a way to give people much more immediate feedback than they would normally get on the impact of their actions
- Why getting crystal clear clarity on objectives is really important
- The key question you need to ask EVERYONE
- How he worked really closely with the individuals doing the jobs.
- How you can apply the techniques to a company with a small number of large volume sales
- How he reduced his stock and released £250,000 ($400,000) back into his cashflow
- How he’s got people to take responsibility for their own feedback.
- The steps anyone can take to achieve what he has achieved
You get a full transcript of the whole interview.