Fear of Feedback

Feedback - when executed correctly - can improve results and strengthen organizations.

I have recently been thinking a lot about how analytics and the concept of feedback are related. After all, providing analysis is really a form of feedback - when it is positive, it’s usually an easy task to deliver the message. Conversely, when the analysis is less than desirable for the receiver, we’re often apprehensive about providing that feedback to them.

I’ve noticed this fear of feedback in working with clients in analytics engagements over the years. I have had instances where the analytics team and I are ready to present analysis but at the 11th hour, a manager or executive reviews the findings and makes a request to tone something down or even remove some data or findings. The team is left discouraged to say the least. Largely because we all think our findings are great, insightful and in some cases very actionable.

The culture of a company often comes into play when working with clients, so I took some time to think about what really drives executive requests to ‘soften’ the analytics findings. I realized it was not the data or the analysis but rather the fear of how people were going to react. Many organizations have a team that is devoted to analytics serving their ‘customers’, which are comprised of other teams in the organization. In these situations there is often a fear of offending the other teams that rely on the data. I believe this is a false fear and is actually a projection of the individual’s own fear of giving feedback. If you think about the times in your life when someone respectfully gives you feedback good or bad, I bet you were grateful for the information in the end.

Think of it this way - have you ever gone about your day not realizing the zipper to your pants was down? Nobody mentioned it for fear of embarrassing you but at the end of the day wouldn’t you have wanted to know your zipper was down? I would!

If you have any additional feedback to share, we would love to hear your thoughts. And if you would like more information on how Stratigent can help your organization become truly data-driven, feel free to drop us a line at info@stratigent.com




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