The Trust Account in feedback

Behavioral and data transparency, relationship management, conflict resolution and team engagement are just a few of the directions which are targeted by efficient feedback. Nevertheless, although this sounds great for developing a healthy business environment focused on growing the company’s culture which will eventually lead to financial stability, it doesn’t always stick to the plan.

If fluctuation is to the roof, if your team’s Gallup results are below expectations, if you just want to improve your business culture, a healthy feedback environment can do that for you. But, why doesn’t this always work?

Most feedback materials focus on:

  • WHY feedback is necessary?

Because in every healthy personal or business related environment, opinions are shared transparently, promptly and openly.

  • HOW should you give feedback? (great materials also focus on HOW should you receive feedback-completely different ball game)

It should be given with the intent of improving a behavior towards developing a relationship which will lead to more productivity-business and personal (there are several instruments commonly used: AIR:Action-Impact-Recommendation; 8/2 ratio:8 positives for 2 negatives; the classical sandwich (which I consider an excellent way to confuse you partner).

Receiving feedback is at least as important as giving it. A proper way of receiving and implementing it is the only way in which you will support an ongoing feedback giving behavior.

  • WHAT will you receive if you build a feedback oriented environment?

You will assure stable communication within your team, a low fluctuation rate among your staff and a team spirit which breaths enthusiasm.

All of the above are important aspects to aim at but the question that makes a great difference is:

WHEN should you focus on developing this behavior?

Here is something that I like to view as a trust account in feedback. Like bank accounts, the trust account supports deposits and withdrawals. The more deposits you make there, the more you can go and withdraw certain amounts.

Imagine that your team is sitting on one big trust account. You have multiple clients for this account, composed of your team members. Imagine that every time someone does something worth being appreciated to another team member, the trust account gets a deposit.

Whenever someone does something which doesn’t instigate to collective performance or just does something offensive to another team member, the trust account receives a withdrawal.

The sizes of the deposits or of the withdrawals may vary depending on the consistency of the act. Like for any other account which gives us a nice feeling, we should always keep in mind to have our balance above zero. This can only be done through constant deposits.

When the team balance is above zero, the team can start to implement a collective feedback system.

What happens if you push to develop feedback in a trust account with debts?

It just won’t stick. More than that, most likely it will increase the team’s debt due to inappropriate collective expectations which were set in regards to a stable feedback culture.

So WHAT can be done to build a stable, transparent communication environment?

First, let’s answer to WHEN..