The hope of feedback
When we gather feedback, we spread the seeds of hope which we must be careful to nurture.
Recently I was in a meeting and sharing some of the work we do it. An individual in the discussion mentioned to us how much hope the ability to give input provides. Hoping that something will get better based on their feedback can be a lifeline for individuals experiencing the vulnerability you cannot easily escape.
Giving feedback is based on a desire for a better future. When we talk about what isn't going well and how to improve things, we're given a glimpse into the possibilities of what can be.
The first hope
When someone's first giving feedback, their first hope is that someone will hear them. This hope drives us forward - being acknowledged on a fundamental level as human beings with valuable thoughts and opinions propel us to share our experiences.
The first hope that we have, that what we say will matter and that it will help things get better, is a fragile one - easily smashed by circumstance and If we're not careful by lack of action by the parties gathering feedback.
When meeting with potential partners, we make it very clear that the worst-case scenario is implementing a feedback system that people inside the organization ignore. Gathering feedback only to ignore it reinforces the view that an organization doesn't care.
Ignoring feedback can cause distrust in not only the feedback process but in your organization as a whole. Having a system in place that acknowledges feedback at the very least and hopefully introduces changes and improvements based on feedback is essential to nurture the hopes of the vulnerable individuals with whom you work.
This system doesn't have to be something complex. A simple way to acknowledge that you've received feedback and are grateful for it can help set you on the right path.
A virtuous cycle
We give feedback at the level we trust an organization or individual. Acting on feedback leads to evidence of the potential of future change. Evidence increases the trust that an individual or organization has our best interests at heart. We then give more feedback, and the virtuous cycle continues.
When serving vulnerable individuals, this trust-building can be as beneficial as any changes implemented because of the feedback received.
Just helping someone understand that your organization has their best interest at heart can unlock a world where your services are received with less reluctance.
Maintain and building upon the virtuous cycle of feedback can set your organization on a path to helping people at an accelerated rate. Don't delay in finding the right way to start gathering feedback.