How to Use Feedback Loops

Feedback should come from those who are close to the action.


In this backstage interview from Leadercast Live 2019, leadership communicator and author Andy Stanley discusses why executive leadership should seek feedback from those who are close to the action. 

“Feedback loops are critical,” he explains. “The higher up in the organization you go, the further away you are from the events that make all the difference in an organization.”  

A team member doesn’t have to be your direct report to be able to give you feedback. Seek ideas and criticism from people well below you. Watch the video for a closer look at using feedback loops.

- Create systems where everyone can offer input.
- Skip-level meetings can shorten feedback loops.
- Let people close to the action contribute to decisions.

[What] everybody wants is to feel like that they have some sort of say-so about their future in an organization, especially after about 35 years old or 40 years old. It's like, “OK, I don't have to be No. 1, but I want to be in the room or in the group with the people that are making decisions that might impact my future.”

Consequently, creating an organizational team and a leadership strategy that creates, that makes it easy for ideas and input to flow up in the organization and for the people higher in the organization to be able to turn around and say, “Hey, we heard you. We're thinking about this. Skip-level meetings do that. A lot of companies to skip-level meetings.

One of the things that we do, I have 12 people on our leadership team, but they're not all direct reports to me. I've told them, you are the they. Our management team, which is five of us, we're not going to make decisions. This group makes the decisions because again, you are closer to the action. You're tied into the critical events of this organization.

Consequently, there's an immediate feedback loop to me, from those 12 to 14 people even though they're not direct reports to me. Then the other thing I ask them to do, and this was, I only started doing this about four years ago, I said to our leadership team, when you go can't be here, I want you to send someone from your team. So, at just about every meeting which is every other Tuesday, someone will be sitting at the table that's not normally at the table. Two things happen: We get their perspective and their ideas, and, they go back to the rest of the organization and go, “No magic there. They're struggling with the same things we are.” It gets some fresh faces and some fresh voices at the table and it gives me immediate opportunity to access what they're thinking and what they're doing.

Feedback loops are critical. Because again, the higher up in the organization you go, the further away you are from the events that make all the difference in an organization.

Andy Stanley

Leadership communicator, best-selling author and founding pastor of North Point Ministries Andy Stanley inspires tens of thousands of people. Andy founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995, leading six churches in the Atlan...

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