And what does Feedback, Truth and Trust have to do with speed?
In an interview with Daniel Roth, Executive Editor at LinkedIn, Jack Welch said
You always want your people to know where they stand. See, one of the things about appraisals for people, appraisals shouldn’t be every year. The world changed in a year, they’ve changed in a year. You’ve got to let them know, ‘Here’s what you’re doing right, here’s what you can do to improve’. And you’ve got to be on them all the time.”
Leadership today is all about two words: It’s all about truth and trust.
When they trust you, you’ll get truth. And if you get truth, you get speed. If you get speed, you’re going to act. That’s how it works.
In earlier posts, I’ve talked about the origins of the word ‘feedback’ forming in the early days of rocket development when the pioneers built rockets with enough thrust but couldn’t hit a target. They had to spend more effort developing what they termed “feedback” so they could adjust the thrusters of the rockets and actually hit their target. Now think about that a minute. If they had waited until the rocket finished its flight, determined how far it had missed the target and then built corrections into the next flight, in the end, the process wouldn’t be very efficient.
But, that’s exactly what happens in many corporations today. Annual targets are set then checked at the dreaded annual review. Did the employee hit the target or not? No help along the way, no feedback mechanism adjusting the thrusters. No chance to make any mid-course adjustments or even agree that the target moved or changed.
Throw out the annual appraisals. Regular and frequent feedback sessions are the only way to get meaningful results and generate speed from your team.
Getting to the “truth” of the matter is difficult if you assume you know the truth and everyone else has their perspective (implying perspective is different from the truth). We all have different perspectives and part of building a great team is understanding that these perspectives are strong and powerful and formed by our experiences, beliefs, values, and goals. A humble leader understands that outstanding and highly effective people will often have different perspectives and it’s our jobs as leaders to get all those perspectives on the table, listen, learn, be curious and in the long run align our perspectives so we’re all pulling in the same direction.
Trust is the key element to all of this. Annual appraisals don’t build trust, regular feedback builds trust. Demanding that your perspective is the only true way of looking at an issue doesn’t build trust. Trust is built through humility, development, focus, commitment, compassion, integrity, peacemaking and endurance.
If you want your team to act effectively with speed, build trust. It’s the only fuel with enough energy to win the race.