Improving Your Business with Honest Feedback

Building and maintaining a successful business depends on good leadership. And successful leaders ask for, accept and appropriately respond to feedback. Here are some valuable tips on eliciting the proper feedback from your clients, staff, and colleagues.

It’s essential that leaders get honest feedback to ensure the success of their business. Feedback is an overused word.

Businesses ask for feedback to hear how great their product, service, or idea is – it also helps owners identify areas that need improvement

Open-ended questions you should ask should include:

  • What do you think?
  • Did you like it?
  • Isn’t it great?

Feedback is best when it comes from those who are not subject to the authority of the leader.

These individuals can share without inhibition the effectiveness and value of a particular product, service, or idea. However, feedback from contemporaries and subordinates is crucial.

Feedback sought from contemporaries and subordinates must take on a specific form and be implemented commiserate to the environment and duties of those involved.

Regardless as to the person being a subordinate, all feedback should:

  • Be structured to achieve a specific goal, which does not encompass a leader’s ego.
  • Be implemented in a way that makes achieving the goal foremost.
  • Be anonymous and specific to the product, service, or idea.
  • Be timely. Feedback is essential during crucial moments of the product, service, or idea creation, implementation, execution, and continuance.

The input that is ill-gotten will be:

  • Vague
  • Infrequent
  • Non-specific
  • Unhelpful

Planned, purposeful, and properly gotten feedback is necessary. The costs of weak feedback
can be astronomical. Leaders must get input that is valuable and actionable to grow and sustain a business.

Whether in a manufacturing facility, educational institution, assisted living home, or a retail
shop, feedback is essential, especially in the residential assisted living industry.

Most importantly, all feedback is vital to success.

There are specific keys to obtaining quality feedback.

These keys hone in on the culture of the organization. Leaders should be honest with
themselves. Ask the following questions about your organization:

  • Is the environment of the business cordial?
  • Do employees exhibit a genuine smile when working?
  • Is the attrition rate high?
  • Do employees in the organization willingly share their ideas?
  • If you were an employee under your leadership, would you be comfortable giving constructive feedback?

Honest answers to these questions will undoubtedly reveal the type of culture in the business.

Hostile, erudite, and vertically aligned environments are not commensurate with constructive feedback.

Employees work in fearful conditions, resulting in “nice” feedback even when the idea is awful.

Business environments where leaders are involved and visible, tend to be more horizontally aligned environments, are commiserate with constructive feedback. Leaders who can be found alongside subordinate employees working, laughing, and listening are environments where there is feedback.

If the business environment is not conducive to honest, constructive feedback, make changes.

Such changes can not be flushed out when an environment is hostile, erudite, and more vertically aligned.

Leadership must work to adjust the structure and involve lower-level employees in those conversations.

Here are some helpful keys to soliciting honest, constructive feedback.

  • Build and maintain a psychologically safe environment. Giving feedback is uncomfortable for many people, especially those working near those requesting feedback. However, when the environment is more a horizontally aligned organization, trust tends to build quickly and the fear of repercussions diminishes. Still, making the feedback anonymous will ensure a safe working environment that will continue to grow.
  • Ask for feedback skillfully. Leaders should avoid posing the question, “What feedback do you have?” because it rarely renders an actionable quality response. Instead, pose questions such as:
  1. “What did you hear when I shared the new proposed strategy?”
  2. “In what way can leadership better support the current process in place for compliance?”
  3. “In last week’s email, did you find the information useful?”
  4. “What information about the new proposed strategy would better serve your area of expertise?”
  • Request both positive and negative data. Leaders should solicit a balanced feedback response. Leaders need to know what is working well, doing well, and well-liked or enjoyed. They also need to know what is not working so well, failing or significantly disliked by those laboring. This balanced feedback approach also is quite comfortable for those giving feedback. Typically people start with what they like or enjoy. People want to share positive information before negative information. And, honestly, those who are receiving feedback would like to know what they are doing that is working, too. Therefore, feedback is best in an orderly fashion, where two positives follow by one negative. Patterns keep the overall process positive and prevent the receiver from being offended, hurt, or angered.
  • When receiving feedback, give your full attention and listen carefully. Colleagues should have nothing to fear from giving honest and constructive feedback. Their feedback may be curt but heartfelt. Often, these individuals know the rigors and struggles of leadership but see where improvements benefit the organization’s good.
  1. Therefore when giving or receiving verbal feedback from colleagues, be sure to give one another absolute attention.
  2. Those receiving feedback should be silent and listen – do not defend.
  3. Take it all in, and once finished, ask clarifying questions. Avoid commenting about the input and get clarity.
  4. Take the time to process the feedback. Evaluate the information and reflect on the references to specific processes, people, or predicaments. Accept the truth and use it to improve. Remember, your colleagues should have nothing to lose by telling you the truth, so help them feel comfortable with it.
  • Demonstrate gratitude – this is tough to do after getting harsh feedback from employees or colleagues. However, it is a must. Say “thank you” even if you are frustrated. The leader who received feedback should be grateful that the input came before organizational effectiveness began to suffer. Hard feedback is corrective. Leaders will also find that individuals who give actionable feedback tend to be more than willing to help make the adjustments with them. Specifically, employees who provide harsh input in a safe environment are instrumental in assisting leaders to make changes swiftly, without much disruption, and are glad to do so. These changes make their work easier or more efficient.
  • Make a plan and take action. The primary keys associated with feedback focused on adequately obtaining feedback. After much contemplation, a project needs to enact change. If the feedback is actionable, which is indicative of all well-sought feedback, then action needs to happen. If no activity occurs, colleagues and employees will find the leader inept or unwilling to take their commentary seriously. Afterwhich, the feedback process proves to be an ingenuine meaningless task. Therefore, take action.
  1. Pick one or two capabilities you want to improve. Be specific about your improvements.
  2. Consider the steps necessary for you to learn and adopt a new process or change an existing process.
  3. Build a team to support and implement the changes so that organizational ownership is shared. Making a plan and taking action is not only crucial for your learning and development, but they’re also a signal to those who shared the feedback — you are serious about improving, and you value their thoughts.
  • Sustain progress and share updates. Once the change is complete, the feedback process occurs. Continual follow-up is necessary. New methods or changed techniques encounter struggles. It takes time to solidify change of any kind in an organization, whether it be a retail store, manufacturing facility, office environment, or an assisted living home. Therefore, do the following:
  1. Share updates on the progress of the new process.
  2. Share the roadblocks that may exist ahead.
  3. Find out from employees how the change makes their work more efficient.
  4. Ask what unforeseen things have arisen since the changes.

RESIDENTIAL ASSISTED LIVING FEEDBACK SHOULD NOT BE OCCASIONAL

Feedback should become a part of the operational procedure in any organization, not a one-time event or occasional.

Vertical organizations will resist feedback.

These organizations are top heavy and prefer to dictate what should happen and when.

However, this operational strategy is becoming less and less effective in the current workforce.

Feedback is much easier to implement as an operational strategy in a horizontal organization. Here, communication flows much more straightforwardly, and employees tend to work without fear of repercussion.

Feedback becomes a natural process in these organizations as well.

It becomes less formal and more informal but just as effective. There is no fear, just genuine concern.

Assisted living homeowners should work fervently to build and create horizontal environments.

With service as the center of existence, these organizations need employees and leaders to be comfortable with open dialogue.

Professionalism should be a guiding principle as well as a genuine care for all residents.

When feedback is a part of the operational strategy in these facilities, changes become easy.

Also, residents are happy, and employees are efficient and fulfilled.

Explore more from the Residential Assisted Living National Association today for more helpful information about owning and operating a quality assisted living home.

Become a member at no cost and get discount group purchasing, blog, newsletters, legal support and so much more.

Many practical tools are available to enhance the overall quality of your assisted living business.

Take Your Impact to the Next Level

Get access to resources that help you fill your home fast and elevate standards of care while growing a profitable and sustainable business. You are not alone in your quest to help others!