Ah, the old suggestion box. Who remembers them? You know, the shoebox wrapped in brown paper with a slit on top, paper and pencil to the side, with a sign that read, “Suggestions? Please drop your suggestion in the box on how we can do better.” I don’t see them much anymore. Maybe it’s because people got tired of filling those cards out (possible). Most likely it’s because people got tired of never having their ideas come to fruition (definitely).
Now, what if I told you those ideas you wrote on that card were never read? That the suggestion box was just a ploy to appease you and ease frustration. And the time it took to fill out that card was quite literally, just a waste of time. How would you feel towards the person or organization that put out the suggestion box?? Frustrated? Lied to? Angry?
Would they lose your trust? Believability? The answer… a resounding YES!
No one ever wants to be hoodwinked, or feel like they wasted their time. Yet, this “suggestion box” analogy is exactly what transpires when executives and managers continuously ask for ideas and suggestions from employees but never follow through on any of them.
I am talking about FEEDBACK! One of the most under utilized tools in an executive’s tool belt.
Too often executives and managers don’t use feedback as a tool for new ideas. They allow their egos to get in the way of listening to suggestions. They see feedback as a hindrance or worse, complaining. When they should really be examining those ideas for better solutions.
In order to lead and make decisions, you need to have the BEST information at hand. Sometimes that information comes from the trenches. The employees busting their butts to make it all happen. Ignoring these folks makes no sense at all. Especially when they are the ones with first hand knowledge interacting with customers, dealing with vendors and building the products. The worst is when a manager ignores a suggestion, to only take that suggestion, put a little twist on it, and claim it as theirs. Such dishonesty happens more than it should.
What should be done?
CEOs should build a culture that encourages their executives and managers to seek out feedback. To look at feedback, not as a hindrance but as a positive influence on the company at all levels. After all, CEOs rely on their management team to lead, enforce policy and to increase performance and productivity. In order to do that, you need your staff to believe in you, trust in you, and care about you. Taking feedback seriously is a step in the right direction to accomplishing those goals.
Great ideas come from many different places. As a friend once told me, “Sometimes you never have to look any further than your own backyard to find what you need.”
Listen to the Feedback!
Always Be Leading!
Bernie Pigott is a leadership speaker, management consultant and media communications expert. He is a former Senior Manager and Producer with over 20 years of experience in the news industry working for FOX News Channel, FOX News Radio and CNBC. Mr. Pigott is a C-Suite Network Advisor and contributing editor for the C-Suite Network. For a FREE consultation on how Mr. Pigott can help you and your organization maximize performance, productivity and profits… Contact us at BerniePigott.com.