They say ignorance is bliss, and what you don’t know can’t hurt you. But when your aim is to successfully grow your business, your biggest stumbling block could be your unconscious incompetence and a lack of honest feedback.

The more experienced we get in business, the more we think we know everything and have all the answers. This comfort zone is the worst possible place to breed complacency and mediocrity. To grow and succeed, you need to constantly seek to bring your incompetence into your conscious world.

How? Through feedback.

It’s one of the hardest things to ask for, and sometimes one of the most difficult things to hear. Most businesses don’t ask for regular feedback from employees, customers and suppliers, because deep down, they don’t want to hear what they have to say. It’s easier to bury your head in the sand and pretend all is good. 

What to implement… 

Team meetings

Firstly, if you are not having regular get togethers with your team, you need to put this in place. Team meetings are the ideal forum to discuss challenges, talk about where things may be bottle-necking or going wrong and get everyone on the same page. 

360 Degree Feedback

One of the most effective ways of gathering individual feedback is to do 360 degree assessments. Here, the individual asks for feedback from the people they report to, from their peers and from those that report to them. It’s the first thing I do with all my new coaching clients. This active feedback provides a snapshot of people’s perceptions of your leadership skills, which is invaluable in plotting your development and growth. 

Another important exercise is to look at people or businesses you respect and admire. What do they do well that makes them earn their reputation? Do they display certain qualities, skills and traits? What characteristics can you adopt to be more like them? 

Customer Feedback

Engage with your customers. Ask for feedback. How do they rate your service? Does the product live up to their expectations? What do you do well? Why do they choose to do business with you? When you don’t ask, customers will vote with their wallets and will simply not return to do business with you in the future. But if you ask for feedback, it shows that you are constantly aiming to improve and satisfy your customers, and they are more likely to give you another shot. 

Spend time chatting to your competitors’ customers. Why did they choose to do business with your competitor? What was their decision based on? Why would they choose to change suppliers? What do your competitors do well? 

Mentorship Feedback

And finally, you need to have an objective third party or board of people who can challenge you. Outsiders, who are not close to you or your business, will make observations that may not be on your radar. Be open and receptive to honest feedback, and seek it! 

In my experience the people who are not open to receiving feedback are the ones who know intuitively that the feedback will be negative, whereas those who are keen as punch to do 360 degree leadership assessments and customer satisfaction surveys always come out with overwhelming positive results that they can build on. 

Make a decision to start asking for feedback, and I can guarantee that your approach to service, leadership and relationship building will improve… and soon, asking for feedback will be fishing for compliments!

If you are open to honest feedback, I can coach you through the process of using this information to improve your personal development and your business. Let’s chat.

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