Create a Culture Where People Are Open to Feedback

In business, the idea of a culture is all too often put on the back burner or abandoned all together.   However, with a strong culture your business can be protected when times are tough, and it is by far the biggest sustainable advantage we have in business today.

With today’s technology and communication continually advancing and whether your company is a new one or not, a change in culture is one strategy that should not be disregarded!

Over time your company’s culture becomes firm and unyielding.  It creates an impact as the business takes shape and in order for a company to evolve and thrive and definitely survive, your company’s culture needs to be open and honest.

The benefits of an open culture — where frank, candid discussions about problems are possible — are immense, but building an open culture is difficult.  However, once you establish the practice of open feedback across the company, you’ll likely find that it builds momentum quickly.  Leaders can set their organization on the path to having an open culture by modeling three behaviors:

  • Showing appreciation: Overcome the negative connotation of “feedback” by recognizing your employees’ good work too. Research suggests you should share positive feedback three times as often as negative feedback.
  • Opening up: We all tend to respond to feedback by protecting ourselves, but building an open culture requires leaders to really listen to what people say to them. Demonstrate how to receive feedback without taking it personally.
  • Getting the whole company involved: Silos create an “us vs. them” mindset. Get other departments involved in decision making early and often.

The main obstacle to change is rallying and energizing your workforce, which will most likely be to be very skeptical.  Your staff needs to be encouraged to form the future of the business and not feel controlled by the needs of management.

Keep in mind, this is a whole team effort…you will need to put together an open and honest group from the top all the way down, to make this change happen.

All too often, people accept that change needs to happen, but believe it’s someone else that needs to perform differently to make it a reality.   With your actions and leading by example, you will generate a change in the way your whole organization behaves.

It’s what you do as a leader, not what you say that really counts!

Do you have an open culture in your company?



Adapted from “Create a Culture Where Difficult Conversations Aren’t So Hard,” by Jim Whitehurst

[themecolor]Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC.  We work with successful top executives with a driving ambition to crush their competition.  We help CEOs and Entrepreneurs improve alignment, communication and accountability throughout their organization.[/themecolor]

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