Yesterday, I was running a workshop for one of my clients to present all of their results from their latest round of customer research to the team – including the customer feedback.
I always present to the leaders first and then I have a one-hour session with the front-line team members.
Yesterday we did two one-hour sessions. I was really showing them how much they’ve improved, how much their customer service score (Net Promoter Score), for example, has gone up from 13% to 44%.
I really wanted to praise them and make sure that they can see that their efforts have really paid off, and they’re delivering such an improved customer experience.
At the end of the session, a few of them came up to me and they said,
You know, it was so great to get this feedback, as we really get very little positive feedback. We only get told when things aren’t going right. Then you come along and have really reinforced to us that our efforts are not in vain, and that we’re making considerable improvements, and even letting us know how well the business is going financially.
That really just reminded me of the importance of giving positive feedback, of catching people doing it right.
I’ve written about this a number of times in the past, even asked the question – How often are you reminding people how much you appreciate what they do? and How often are you giving positive feedback?
I call it ‘catching people doing it right’.
I loved the way you served that customer. You looked them in their eye, you smiled, you used their name. You could see how welcome they felt. That’s exactly what I want to see and thank you so much for the effort you put in.
That really makes a difference to people.
It reminded me of the story I’ve told before about when I was a teacher and a young boy coming up to me, his name was Paul, and just saying, “Mr. Cherry, you hadn’t spoken to me for two weeks.” I was really quite shocked. “What do you mean I have not spoken to you for two weeks?” I thought I spoke to all my kids on a regular basis. He said, “You haven’t even talked to me.”
I really thought about this and started to get what I call getting interested. I got my register with all the kids’ names, and I started ticking off every time I had a one-on-one, not a group conversation, but a one-on-one conversation.
What surprised me and really shocked me was that there was about 30% of my class (I had 35 kids, so it’s not simple to do that), I hardly ever had one-on-one conversations with. We did group things, but I didn’t talk to them individually.
Who do you think they were?
These were the kids who just got on and did their work. When I said, “Go and do this task,” they went and did it. They weren’t necessarily the most intelligent, they didn’t have any behavioural issues, but they just made my job easy.
That’s what I want you to really get out of this:
I was NOT giving personal feedback and showing my appreciation with the people that actually made it easier to teach 35 kids in the class.
I was NOT acknowledging them at all, it just about broke my heart.
I swore from that moment onwards that I would make sure that I spent time with every kid, and I worked on it on a fortnightly rotation. I measured it, and it really made a huge difference.
I’m nearly 60, and my sister just rang me up the other day. She’d talked to a girl called Fiona, who was the second class I ever taught, I taught for 11 years, and she said what a great teacher I was. It was nice to hear that sort of feedback, but equally I know that I really did give them individual time.
What I’ve learned since this time is, it really was no different in business.
I’ve trained thousands of leaders around the world, well over 7,000 leaders now, and I often talk about this and say, “How often do you spend time with your team? Do you spend more time with some more than others?”
Of course, the answer is YES.
Often it’s the same group of people they DON’T spend time with. They DON’T have any individual conversation.
They certainly DON’T give any positive feedback to, those who just do their job; They turn up on time. They do the job. They don’t cause any fuss.
Don’t they make your life as a leader easier to do?
I invite you to consider the same thing, How often are you giving feedback?
How often are you even just spending time, not just giving feedback, but spending time, getting interested in them, catching them doing things right?
One of the strongest motivators for humans is seeing that they’re making progress. Otherwise, it’s very hard to sort of keep your individual motivation up. We can make a big difference as leaders to that by making a point of catching people doing it right.
One way to do this is using the principle ‘management by walking about MBWA’
The management by wandering around (MBWA), also management by walking around refers to a style of business management which involves managers wandering around, in an unstructured manner, through the workplace(s), at random, to check with employees, equipment, or on the status of ongoing work. The emphasis is on the word wandering as an unplanned movement within a workplace, rather than a plan where employees expect a visit from managers at more systematic, pre-approved or scheduled times.
The expected benefit is that a manager, by random sampling of events or employee discussions, is more likely to facilitate improvements to the morale, sense of organizational purpose, productivity and total quality management of the organization, as compared to remaining in a specific office area and waiting for employees, or the delivery of status reports, to arrive there, as events warrant in the workplace.
This is a good idea for people who struggle with this principle – DON’T always walk the same way when you go and get the photocopy from the photocopier or go and have a cup of tea.
Walk a different direction to get there, maybe a longer route, and just walk past other people in your team, spend time with them, check in and see how they are. Show interest. Don’t dominate the conversation, but just check in.
If you see them doing something really right, your feedback has got to come from the heart. It can’t be false. It’s got to mean something.
I invite you to think about that.
Getting out there, even keeping a list so you know who you’ve spoken to and ensure that you’re giving everyone some of your time.
I think every company would suffer from this lack of ‘catching people doing it right’ and providing positive feedback.
If I spoke to your team would I find the same thing?
“We hardly get any positive feedback.” Not just feedback. They said, “Hardly any positive feedback.”
Let’s make a difference.
Remember this saying:
People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
If I can support you in improving this area and or finding out what your team are actually saying then contact me to discuss.