Effective leaders place vision at the forefront of their leadership qualities.We talk about vision as though it is a clearly formed picture…a road map. The challenge with maps? They’re not always up to date…particularly during organizational change.
There are people who keep driving and refuse to ask for directions….even though it’s clear their map didn’t get them to their expected destination. Is that why some leaders are one hit wonders? (The business press is filled with high paid, star status executives who can’t replicate their route to success in a new position.)
Did they forget to ask for direction and feedback to adapt, change course and choose a better route?
How Does your Change Management Strategy Incorporate Feedback?
How do you get feedback?
Who do you know who’s willing to give you the unvarnished truth?
Do you ask for feedback intermittently…or do you regularly create opportunities to cultivate it?
Leaders who operate in a bubble of their own assumptions and perceptions get lost. They see familiar markers but can’t make adjustments to their route. Signs your map is incomplete? How isolated are you from the day to day challenges your team faces? When is the last time you had a heart to heart with someone who should be your customer…but isn’t?
Where is feedback on your list of executive priorities? Have you scheduled time for it? If not, it doesn’t happen consistently.
Early in my career, I took market research studies and presented the results to our television advertising customers. The toughest industry leaders I met with were men in the grocery industry. These guys had access to so much customer data it was mind boggling. They assured me the information that their scanners provided was deep and very instructive. They used it for sophisticated merchandising and advertising decisions. The only problem was this huge mountain of data was only tied to their customers…leaving them to guess about larger trends like fewer families having time to cook dinner at home each night. It would take years and lots of trial and error before grocers jumped into selling prepared meals for customers. Even now…very few stores do convenience meals very well. There is little variation in items available and the items sit on warming trays and shelves for far too long. How are stores asking for feedback on this? What’s for dinner is a nightly problem for working Moms and Dads.
Do they ask, would you like more variation, and healthier choices? What about providing a predetermined weekly menu with items pre-selected, measured and tied to a recipe for quick assembly at home? Who would pay for that level of convenience or service?
This what-if scenario is just to illustrate a point. Whether or not you think this is a good idea, do you see the larger context? Have you seen a feedback system to gather this kind of intelligence where you grocery shop? Me either.
And that’s my point.
How do you encourage customers and employees to give you real feedback? Do you make it easy…or difficult?
You are drowning in data. Are you asking the right questions?
Would leadership be more effective treating feedback as a strategic priority? Are you missing chances to ask for better direction?