Build great Teams – People management

Use Feedback From Your Team To Drive Change

Use Feedback From Your Team To Drive Change

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You think one area of your business is working really effectively. Your team, however, can see room for improvement in this same area. Another area in your mind needs improvement, but when you ask your team for feedback – they can’t see what the problem is. Does any of this sound familiar? Or maybe you have no idea what your team think – only what you think?


Periodically asking your team for their thought on how things could be done differently can pay big dividends. Small changes that may not occur to you might make a huge difference overall to how the team works. This is the ‘marginal gains’ that the sports world often refers to. Getting your team involved in how things work will also motivate them. It drives engagement and makes them feel more valuable to the company.

A Great Way To Get Feedback

A great way to ask your team for feedback is to ask four simple questions. If you want to focus on a particular area of your business, let them know. If you want to make it as open as possible, let them know. The questions I recommend are extremely open and do not lead in any way. They also encourage constructive ideas and include some prioritization. I suggest you ask them in the following order:

  • What do you think we do well as a team and/or business (don’t restrict yourself to a single item)?
  • What do you think we could improve to make our whole team more effective (don’t restrict yourself to a single item)?
  • If we could only change one thing in the next 12 months, which of the above would it be?
  • How do you suggest we improve the things that need to be improved?
  • What Do We Do Well?

    Get some positive energy going to start with and make sure this isn’t a purely negative exercise. Getting your team to provide positive feedback first may also help them later when you ask for suggestions. Maybe something that’s working well in one area could be applied elsewhere. It doesn’t matter if the things they come up with are big or little, as long as they’re looking for positives.

    What Do You Think We Could Improve?

    Encourage their feedback to include big and small things that they would like to see improved. Ultimately you may not be able to change some of the big things, but you can often change small things. A lot of small changes can add up to a big improvement overall.

    What Should We Improve First?

    Typically you’ll get more feedback about negatives than positives. This puts you in a great position to make changes for the better, but the reality is you won’t be able to do it all at once. Sometimes people think of their biggest issues first. But often they think of things related to whatever they were doing at the time you asked. After more thought they may come up with items that are actually more important to them. Ask them to prioritize so you can focus on what’s most important to the team.

    How Can We Improve?

    If you bring a problem, bring a solution! Get your team used to raising issues with you, but make sure they bring suggestions to fix the issue at the same time. Initially you may find they bring suggestions that are out of your control, too expensive or too idealistic to implement. Over time, if you explain what parameters you are working under, they’ll adjust. They will start suggesting ideas that fit within reasonable parameters, as they learn what those boundaries are.

    Be Open To Ideas

    Embrace all ideas for improvement and consider all suggestions to solve problems. Ask further questions if needed to make sure you understand what is being proposed. Be open with your team about things that cannot be changed and provide the reasons why, so that people understand the parameters you’re working within. They may be able to adjust their suggestion based on the new parameters.

    Make it clear this is not an exercise where you are saying you will do everything people have suggested. Often you can make small changes fairly easily to demonstrate you’re listening. If you can show which improvements were made based on team member’s suggestions from a previous exercise such as this, you will get participation each time you do it, because your team will see the value in participating.

    My Question To You

    Do you ask your team for their thoughts on which areas the business could improve? Have you asked for their ideas? Have you implemented anything they suggested? If this is something you would like to discuss or would like some help with, contact me at nikki@mulberrybushconsulting.co.uk. You can also buy my book Accelerate to Team Success which is available as a paperback or on Kindle.

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    About the Author:

    Nikki Faulkner photo Dr Nikki Faulkner founded Mulberry Bush Consulting to work with business leaders and their teams to make the 'People' side of their business as effective as possible. Mulberry Bush Consulting's specialty is helping small businesses who are new to having employees and helping businesses who are growing rapidly and increasing their employee-base at a rate that is creating a significant challenge.

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