I have always loved playing sport from a young age. Growing up in the country, it was a strong part of what brought a community together and created strong bonds across individuals, teams and towns. The other part I love around team sports is the pursuit of a goal whether that was to win a premiership or to get better every year. Some of my favourite memories have been involved in the pursuit of these goals working together as one team.
I moved down from the country to the city to go to university and then to commence working as an accountant in a large public service organisation. I proceeded to then work in big four accounting firms, local government, private sector organisations and now my own businesses. My work career has been varied both in terms of environments and the type of work I have undertaken.
Linking playing sport and working in organisations, the stark difference I noted being a member of them both is the major gap around seeking and receiving feedback and how feedback is viewed. The difference is significant and noticeable and explains a lot of the reasoning why sporting teams expect and reach high performance while very few organisations do.
Feedback in a sporting organisation or for any athlete is timely. Feedback is undertaken at every training session and every debrief as part of the preparation for each game. It is a habit, a ritual and part of how they do business. There is no waiting six or twelve months to receive “formal” feedback. There is no fear from athletes to receiving the feedback as they realise this is how to improve, get better and get closer to reaching the goals they are pursuing. It is welcomed and embraced.
Contrast this to most people who work in large organisations particularly the public sector. This is also the case for a lot of consultants. There is a fear of receiving feedback. What will our customers say? What does my boss think of me? How do my peers view me? All questions driven by fears. What makes it worse is that most managers are ill equipped to provide specific and timely feedback and don’t incorporate it in to their daily and weekly rituals.
What then happens in practice is that very little feedback is provided, that feedback that is provided is not timely and the fear then drives people towards trying to keep people happy rather than the focus being on improving the consulting organisation and its practices.
Embracing habits, systems and rituals in your consulting business that provide feedback loops is critical to high performance. Without it, your business will not improve, it will not reach the goals you have set yourself nor will you tap in to the best asset a business can have. Embed the receiving and seeking of feedback and watch your business improve like an athlete does.
easyconsult people package has a variety of tools and templates to assist with embedding feedback in to your organisation.