In my first company, we used a “two words” feedback process that was surprisingly powerful. After our first real work meeting with a new client, we would hand out one small post-it note and ask the client team to describe their experience with us in just “two words.” Clients always had the same reaction. They would say; “How could you possibly get any insight into how we feel with just two words?” And then they would see the two words, good and bad, and they would see that the feedback was actionable.
The rules are simple. You can use this simple process with many people or few, and you should always make sure they understand that it’s anonymous (this is awkward when there’s just one person!). That way, people feel free to tell the truth and give you real feedback. I strongly recommend using a process like this to gauge how you are doing. Sales professionals should use this with clients once into the sales process to ask; “How am I doing?” Entrepreneurs and leaders of all types should use it to ask their teams the same question. And then take action on it.
I’ve used this with my clients and students for years, and it’s very powerful to look at the patterns in the data over time. It shows me where I’m strongest and where I need to bring resources and people to bear on my weaknesses. Here’s a real example, good and bad, from one of the courses I taught last night to 70 people in Chicago, in the form of a tag cloud..