Despite it's ability to stir emotions, giving and receiving feedback among team members is a crucial part of bettering team performance and fostering personal development. From new hires to the top tiers of management, all levels of an organization can benefit from feedback.
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Assess yourself, your team, and your company. We have discussed various feedback approaches here before. There is a lot of discomfort with annual 360 feedback processes out there. There is a growing movement toward continuous feedback systems. Whatever the process you use, you must give your team the ability to deliver feedback in a safe way and get feedback that they can internalize and act upon. You must tie feedback to development goals. Feedback alone will not be enough. Build a culture where people are allowed to make mistakes, get feedback, and grow from them. I have seen this approach work many times. It helps build companies where churn rates are extremely low.
I think companies as small as 10 employees can benefit from 360 reviews and I strongly recommend them to our portfolio companies. When I see a CEO or a management team resist the idea of 360 reviews, it can be a red flag to me. I like to think that everyone can and should get feedback on their performance, be open to it, and that they will certainly benefit from it.
Don’t be a grin fucker. Stop the corporate bullshit when it hits your desk. You don’t have to do it as publicly and vocally as I did – in fact I don’t recommend it. But please be willing to politely and respectfully stand your ground when an internal initiative is off base or you don’t agree with it. I’ve stated previously that I believe that respectful open debate is the highest form of democracy. It also makes good business sense. Stand for high quality. Stand for holding people accountable when they’re proposing something you believe could damage the company’s reputation or waste time and resources. Make your arguments fact based. When people come to present their businesses to me I try my best not to grin fuck them. I give direct, honest, blunt, polite and (I hope) useful feedback. It isn’t always “rah rah.”