Photo Credit: Pexel.com
Feedback is often the elusive ingredient to closing many business communication loops. How many of us, as business owners, really provide effective communication? Carolyn Edgecomb in her recent article The Power and Importance of Negative Feedback for Employees shares that 92 % of professionals polled say all feedback helps. As a business owner, gathering feedback from our clients is essential to us providing the best support, service and products. In turn, we should also ensure that our business partners are able to benefit from the same insights and information through our own timely, effective and continuous feedback.
Photo Credit: Pexel.com
Feedback is critical and essential to any relationship, especially in business, to be successful. Feedback provides three important benefits that are critical to getting what you need from your business partners that almost no other method provides. As Bill Gates puts it “We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
First, feedback creates productive dialogue. Without feedback there would be assumptions and potential miscommunications that could be costly. Providing your business partners with information, responses and following up, helps reduce the costs associated with rework, deadline extensions and potentially a lost customer…or two.
Secondly, feedback demonstrates a commitment to the relationship and builds trust. It is often said that people only complain when they care. While feedback can be negative, constructive and positive, that additional step to share indicates there is a level of interest and commitment in and to the relationship.
Thirdly, feedback confirms the level of clarity. Have you ever been in a meeting that you thought you clearly explained and laid out information or expectations? Imagine having three out of five members present providing feedback to you that your presentation was unclear. Without that feedback you would have thought everyone left with an understanding of their role, responsibilities and expectations. Feedback clarifies what we thought and confirms what we did.
What is effective feedback?
Photo Credit: Pinterest-Kevin Watson
Robert Allen believes “There is no failure. Only feedback.” With that belief, providing and receiving timely, ongoing feedback ensures that we are always serving our business partners in a mutually beneficial way. DX Learning Solutions shares a feedback model that I believe works well to truly provide effective feedback. They describe four components that all revolve around being specific and objective, two components that make the difference between constructive feedback and criticism.
The DX model encourages one to:
- Describe the situation using a when and where. Being specific is terrific. It also enhances the ability to recall and relate to a specific incident or timeline.
- Describe the exact behavior or situation. In business it is easy to generalize. Providing timely and continuous feedback helps ensure specific situations and behaviors are captured, documented, and shared in detail when providing feedback.
- Describing the impact. As we work with our business partners, it is important to communicate the impact of actions and reactions in an objective way. Vague descriptions of loss and inconvenience will negate the purpose and intent of effective feedback.
- Describe alternatives that would have served you better. Not only is sharing the specific situation and impact important, providing ways that you would have preferred to have the situation be handles or resolved can be quite helpful for the receiver.
Photo Credit: Pexel.com
Does providing feedback come naturally to you? It should. Believe it or not, we provide feedback every day. The true question is are you providing effective feedback? Through our actions, communication, or lack thereof, we are providing feedback. Are we being intentional about the feedback we provide? Are our business partners benefitting from continuous and timely feedback? Is feedback only provided when it is negative?
Our businesses rely heavily on our business partners, community, or eco-system that we create to support it. By providing our business partners with effective feedback that provides specifics, communicates impact and offers alternatives, we are helping them, help us to succeed. How will you use effective feedback to improve your business relationships?
Chief HR Transformation Officer and Coach at Aldeen Simmonds-Thorpe Consulting
Aldeen Simmonds-Thorpe is a HR Transformation Strategist, Speaker and Coach helping businesses solve problems and navigate human resource challenges resulting in risk mitigation, more efficient processes and build stronger and more diverse and inclusive teams. She is a trusted Advisor and Coach to entrepreneurs helping them build sustainable businesses through community.