Every leader wants their company to grow or prosper. Achieving this outcome typically requires some level of continuous improvement, which works best when you have a feedback loop.
Feedback is the most important part of continuous improvement because we can’t always see our own dirt. But getting this unfiltered feedback becomes tougher as you move higher in an organization.
Although it is tougher, it’s not impossible if you build a system to solicit feedback where people feel safe to speak up and offer constructive ideas. Steve Peplin from Talan Products built such a system.
Crain’s recently wrote an article on how Steve has implemented bi-annual CEO Roundtables. People come together with him twice a year and are allowed to say anything.
Here is what makes this special:
1. He Seeks Real Feedback
He doesn’t rely solely on anonymous tools like surveys because, although valuable, they can be generic and are not as personal as a discussion about real issues, in detail, face-to-face with people.
2. He Seeks It Regularly
These meetings are bi-annual, not just one-time. The recurring nature of these sessions creates a continuous stream of feedback for ongoing improvement. This continuous stream is important because improvement is a process, not an event.
3. He Is Willing To Be Vulnerable
People can say anything at these sessions and he must sit there and not be defensive. He listens. He allows others to hold the mirror to his face and he accepts there are blemishes.
4. He Has Created A Winning Culture
These sessions have revealed how much people want to learn, have led to lateral moves for employees and even some promotions. His people are engaged. They are not distracted by fear or intimidation because they know they are heard.
CEO Roundtables aren’t the only way to build an effective feedback loop but no matter the system, you’ll want unfiltered feedback. Frequent vulnerability and solicitation of feedback are certainly building blocks to continuous improvement and ultimately, a winning culture.