The value of Feedback and Observation

Often we don’t have sufficient data to make decisions, and we start guessing and trusting on our experience and intuition. Although we value experience and intuition, it’s not prudent to be overly dependent on our gut feel, if other means of gathering information exists.

Don’t underestimate the value of just asking, or going to find out ourselves!

Although feedback throughout our management and ecosystems are important, it is especially important to get feedback from customers view of your current position. Are they happy with the products and services you provide? Do your product or service have all of the features it should have, are they happy with its performance, the support they get, the cost of the product or service – any element that would influence their view of value!

Ask salespeople and customers about the position of your offering versus competitors, if customers switch ask them why, for instance?

One of the innovation techniques we will discuss in EXTRACT is Jobs-to-be-done (coined by Clayton Christensen and expanded on by Tony Ulrich). This method has especially useful guidance of getting meaningful feedback from customers or potential customers.

In Lean a key management technique is called doing Gemba (translated – the real place where work happens) walks.

Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho, is famous for temming managers to “Go see, ask why, show respect” – basically what a Gemba walk is.

Go see, ask why, show respect is the way in which a manager can turn scientific empiricism into behavior.

The aim is to go observe what is really happening, while showing respect to the people involved, especially the people who do the real value-creating work of the business.