In a 2005 Stanford commencement speech, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it." He was right. Finding something you’re passionate about means work doesn’t feel like work.
But what do we do when we find that dream job? Surely that can’t be the end of the road? What else can you turn your focus, drive and energy to?
Personal development is important no matter where we work. For you, your colleagues and your business. Getting feedback is a great way to achieve this. Not only can it help you become a more well-rounded person but your staff will feel listened to - leading to greater productivity. With meetings a key part of any CEO, executive or entrepreneur's daily scheduling, let’s look at how we can use feedback to make yours shine.
Why feedback is important
When it comes to planning meetings, incorporating feedback can have some pretty great benefits.
For starters, it improves communication and collaboration within your team. When you ask colleagues, stakeholders or employees what they think of a session, you're able to get a better understanding of what they need to be able to take away. This means that group meetings, interviews, and catch-ups are more productive, effective, and efficient because you focus on the things that matter and are not distracted by tangents.
You’ll also find that your decision-making becomes easier too. Feedback is going to give you a greater range of ideas and perspectives which means you can think through all sides of a discussion before making a final choice. Plus, when team members feel like their voices are being heard and their input is valued, they're more likely to buy into the decisions you make. They will plan ahead for your meetings and contribute knowing it matters.
This leads us to our last point. Staff who feel listened to will take greater accountability and ownership for the things they do. They’ll also be happier in their jobs and less likely to burn out. When they're confident they can come to you with concerns or suggestions for change, they’ll feel more confident in doing their jobs. In meetings, they speak up, which should improve the efficiency of delivering outcomes.
How to gather feedback
Now we know why feedback is needed, how do we gather the right information to actually make a difference?
A post-meeting survey for scheduling a follow-up or questionnaire is good for getting a quick reaction to what’s just happened.
Say you’re working with a large group of people, speaking to them in 1:1 meetings isn’t always going to be practical. A quick survey let you keep your finger on the pulse and make sure you’re going in the right direction. Plus, it's a great way to get anonymous feedback, which can be useful if some on your team are hesitant to speak up in person.
If anonymous feedback is what you want, you can use your Forms linked to a Google Calendar account to create some questions and simply don’t ask for any identifying information such as email or name.
Of course, 1:1 meetings or focus groups are always great if you really want or need that detailed feedback. Using a scheduling app for business can help you find a time for everyone.
If you’ve just finished up a large meeting, breaking into smaller groups or even individual catch-ups can let everyone feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions - without having to do it in front of a large group.
Lastly, if you’ve created a meeting agenda, you can schedule some time for real-time feedback. Let people score the meeting as a group using something like Mentimeter or Sli.do. Alternatively, simply ask them what they thought worked well, what didn’t and take note of what they say.
How to make that feedback count
Don’t collect feedback from people if you’re not going to act on it - that’s the first important lesson. Prioritize the most important issues and concerns raised and work on a plan to address them.
If it’s a recurring meeting, then consider allocating some time to talk through the issue and see if there’s a way to overcome it. This could be a dedicated time slot at the beginning of the session for open discussion or a specific agenda item where specific feedback is addressed.
Another thing to keep in mind is that incorporating feedback doesn't always have to be negative. As well as complaints and issues, it also means including new ideas and suggestions. Encourage active participation and engagement from all attendees and make sure to follow up with anyone who has suggested an idea that you don't have time to explore. This could mean using your scheduling calendar to let them book some time with you after the meeting.
As well as the follow-up, keep track of the feedback you've received, so its progress can be measured over time. Find out what's working, what's not and make any necessary adjustments.
This might all sound a bit too easy, but it won’t come without its challenges.
If you have group meetings that you’ve run for a while, people might be resistant to change. Humans are creatures of habit - we very easily and quickly get set in our ways. That’s why it’s important to communicate clearly that incorporating feedback is important and the benefits it will have on the team. It's also important to make sure your colleagues understand how what they say will be used and the changes they can expect to see.
For any business executive or entrepreneur, time is always going to be a problem - especially when it comes to gathering and analyzing feedback. Doodle’s availability tracker is helpful in managing your productivity and automating your schedule. This should free up enough time for you to prioritize getting the information you need.
Lastly, the question is how do you measure success? For some aspects, it’ll be easy. Take things that can be quantified - you should see the right metrics move in the right way. But what about things that can’t be measured? Keep track of what people say and set specific goals to act upon it. Even if it’s something you can’t measure, you should start to see things move in a positive direction if you’re doing it right.