This article will provide you with some thoughts, ideas, and practical tips on how to implement a feedback culture in your organisation.
However, it is impossible to describe a process where one size fits all since the as-is culture in the organisation very much sets the baseline for where and how to start or how to continue the journey.
An organisation that is not clear about its expectations with their leaders, teams and employees will find it very difficult to implement a feedback culture. Why? Because developing feedback will be more comprehensive if it’s related to an ambition, direction or expected outcome.
Giving feedback without having a clear framework will easily end up in discussions about why it is important or with unengaged and detached employees. Therefore, to implement a successful feedback culture, it will help if you first ensure that you have a goal/target setting process in place including team as well as individual targets/ambitions.
It’s essential that all employees need to learn the basics on how to give feedback and what to give feedback about to support the development process.
The SBI (Situation, Impact, Behaviour) model is commonly used to frame the process in a useful way, and it also helps people to understand how to relate feedback back to an expected outcome or impact.
Different people need different kinds of feedback – Whether you use MBTI, DISC or any other tool to help your people understand different needs and personality traits, it is the key to helping leaders understand that feedback needs to come with different wrappings and in different shapes.
Only give feedback about things that you think the person could do something about and that you honestly believe the person will benefit from, and remember to always ask the question, “Would you like to have feedback?” before starting to give feedback. This to ensure that the individual has the capacity to take onboard feedback at that stage.
Feedback cultures don’t die out because people don’t want to give feedback, they often die because of the inability to receive feedback. How people tend to respond to feedback is well illustrated in the feedback stages. A very common behaviour is the “Defend” stage where (even when you give positive feedback) you get answers which are defensive, like – “That was nothing ….. You only needed to say thank you…”
The point is, if people always defend or make defensive comments when receiving feedback people will stop giving them feedback.
You could try to see feedback as a gift.
If people come to your house for dinner, they sometimes bring a gift, a bottle of wine, flowers or something else they found in a gift store. What do you normally say when you get it? Most likely “Thank you.”
If you don’t like the gift you still most likely say “Thank you” instead of starting to comment on the fact that they have misunderstood your taste in wine or that you don’t like yellow flowers, because if that would be the case people would probably stop bringing you gifts!
The point is the same goes with feedback. See it as gift! Some feedback you might like and put on the “table”, some you don’t like and disregard (or regift them) and some is of the kind that you put in your cupboard and bring it out when your friend comes back for a visit. Out of 10 gifts you might get one that you keep for life.
All feedback you get can’t be perfect…. You need to accept 10 that might not be so useful to ensure you get the gift of your life that will help you see things in a completely new light.
- Integrate feedback into day-to-day activities. Make it into a habit to recognise people’s achievements on a daily basis.
- Ask for feedback yourself to role-model.
- A discussion that could be high on the agenda for every meeting is the sharing of success stories. Now and then add a failure experience and discuss what you have learned. Reinforcing successful behaviours and learning from mistakes shapes a feedback culture in an effective way.
- End meetings with 2 questions “What did we do well today” and “What can we improve to next time?”
- Start each meeting with what we should achieve today. End the meeting with what have we achieved.
The possibilities to practise feedback are endless both on a team and individual level
Written by Peter Lysell