A feedback culture is essential for innovation, growth and performance. But do you really have a feedback culture? Here are six questions that explore the underlying aspects of a healthy feedback culture:
Does the HiPPO* always win? In a feedback culture, there will be openness from senior leaders to admit they are not always right and to change their views. As Steve Job famously said, "I don't really care about being right; I just care about success..." *Highest paid person's opinion What happens when a mistake is made? When things are all sunshine and roses, a feedback culture is more straightforward. The true test of a feedback culture is when deadlines are missed, complaints are going up and targets are unmet. Does it then turn into a scene out of Lord of the Flies, with scapegoating, blaming, voting people off the island? If so, you don't really have a feedback culture. To what extent do people openly disagree on issues? Innovation and decision making benefit from the diversity of thought. Everyone agreeing all the time is not diversity of thought. It's also not a feedback culture. A feedback culture has a healthy level of two-way feedback and professional disagreement. This also helps minimise an aspect of workplaces that most people hate. Office politics. Does underperformance come as a surprise? In a feedback culture, there is a great deal of transparency about performance and progress. This is at an individual level, team level, and company level. Leaders don't wait three months before things hit breaking point to then 'performance manage' someone. Team's don't hide critical issues impacting progress. Do people tend to leave for "better" jobs than when they started? In a feedback culture, feedback is a practice essential for growth and development. If people are growing and developing, they will sometimes outgrow their roles. And sometimes it isn't possible to retain them, no matter how hard you try. When people leave a healthy feedback culture, they become advocates for your business on the outside, referring potential customers and candidates frequently. How much is obnoxious feedback tolerated? "Oh, I was just trying to be open and honest with them...". The excuse you often hear when someone has delivered feedback like a jerk, under the guise of 'direct feedback'. A feedback culture isn't carte blanche to insult and belittle others. In a feedback culture, feedback is delivered with thought and the genuine intention of helping others grow and develop.
For more info see our most popular infographic about a feedback culture: