The Hardest Part of Joining a New Organization: Building Feedback Loops
NEW JOB. NEW TEAM.
Let’s say for a moment you just got a job working in a big, awesome warehouse full of other similarly disciplined professionals. You spend the better part of your first week soaking up the culture and learning where the coffee filters are, while trying to remember everyone’s name.
When you finally dig into your first assignment, you experience excitement tinged with a little fear of the unknown. You run into a few speed bumps along the way, but you find reasonable solutions and you toil away until you have a deliverable.
Finally, you’re ready to display your work. It’s good! Can it be better? Yes. Thus, you require feedback.
LOOP THERE IT IS
Building feedback loops is the hardest part of joining a new organization. Especially if you’re not certain who is open to providing feedback. However, an effective feedback seeking strategy is one of the most powerful learning tools a professional can keep in their toolbox.
In Agile, we rely on sprint cycles to plan our iterative workflow. The good news is that feedback is built in, or at least it’s intended to be. How much feedback, how often and how effective is really up to each member of the scrum team.
Herein lies our problem.
I THINK IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO HAVE A FEEDBACK LOOP, WHERE YOU‘RE CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE DONE AND HOW YOU COULD BE DOING BETTER.Elon Musk,
FEEDBACK IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE
Sadly, there is no law of conservation of feedback. Appropriate feedback doesn’t always happen or at least not as often as it should and it is typically not reciprocal in nature. It’s up to the individual to determine how much feedback they seek and how much they are willing to give. This is where company culture and subcultures come into play.
At the company level, it is really important that senior employees set the tone for providing timely feedback. As an individual at a company, new or otherwise, overcoming the fear of seeking feedback or asking for help is difficult but necessary in order to grow as a professional. The feedback might not (and should not) always be positive. And when it isn’t, it’s still important to listen and not wilt in the face of a negative critique. After all, it’s about improving.
BE SPECIFIC AND STRAIGHTFORWARD
There needs to exist a shared responsibility to seek feedback, be resilient to feedback and provide timely, high-quality feedback for others. Not just a pat on the back or a high-five. Conversely, “Dude, this sucks!” is not going to help anyone. I’m talking about real scrutiny. It’s important that the feedback provided is meaningful. Otherwise, if it’s not helpful, the recipient might not be so eager to go through the trouble a second time and no one get’s better.