Instant Feedback for Instant Changes

The success of a team largely depends on timely and correct feedback. Without feedback – both corrective and positive – relationships in teams can lead to a loss of trust and the ability to work together. Feedback helps to defuse the atmosphere, discuss challenging issues, motivate colleagues and raise morale. We spoke with Head of Business Analysis, Dmitri Maklakov and Senior Agile Delivery Coordinator, Halina Ivanova to discuss how they helped to establish the feedback process in Godel teams.

Where did the idea start to create a feedback course?

Dmitri: The idea came about in the middle of last year. We spoke a lot about feedback, how it works in a company, where the weaknesses are and what can be changed. From the discussions, it was concluded that the culture of feedback could be improved – and there was an opportunity to improve it.

It is important that people are ready to openly discuss working moments and do it in two ways. Firstly, give feedback on what is not working. Secondly, recognise each other’s merits and leave positive feedback on what colleagues did well. This is when we concluded – why not offer the team tools that will help make feedback more effective.

As a result, we launched the Instant Feedback for Instant Changes course. We put a focus on practice as I didn’t want the team to just listen to the theory of feedback and communication. The idea is that we create a space in the form of webinars which allows participants to practice giving each other feedback with the tools we provide.

Halina: It was decided we would conduct the course as and when requested. Initially, two teams came to us. This is an important point because any changes are possible when requested. It is essential that potential course participants are aware of the problem. Before the start of the course, we conduct an installation session with an ADC in which we find out expectations – this is a “change agent” who supports endeavours and helps with the organisation of sessions.

What does the course consist of?

Halina: After completing the setup session with an ADC, we conduct three workshops. The first is to align expectations in the team. This is where we talk about why it is important to openly discuss expectations for all roles within the team. Some ADCs have already adapted the workshop and began to conduct it in their teams without our help. The second workshop deals with the basics of communication, what levels it consists of, and how it should be built on each of them. Here we focus on the principles of open communication and offer practical exercises that help to acquire new knowledge. For the workshop, we selected case studies and adapted them to the situations that are encountered in teams. We then run a third workshop directly about feedback – where we offer frameworks for giving them. The frameworks tell the team what should be in the feedback, and we explain why it works.

At the end of a series of workshops, the team agrees on what techniques and practices they would like to implement, depending on the processes in the team and the presence of certain situations. One of the teams concluded that it is worth increasing transparency in terms of what they think and start sharing more of their observations. We do not influence this in any way – it is important for us that the team realise the usefulness of constant feedback.

Between workshops, we propose to carry out tasks for the implementation of theory into practice. We reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and the trainers are ready to provide support and do additional sessions with analysis of situations.

How can teams come to you?

Dmitri: For now, we plan to continue to conduct the course upon request. A representative of any team can contact us. And here we are talking not only about ADCs and the project team – but it can also be any group of people who work closely with each other – Division Managers, function participants, Talent Acquisition teams or People Partners. The team will have to devote time to sessions, which last for several hours, and practice. As and when we obtain new trainers, we will be able to make the course more ambitious.

The culture of feedback can be called one of the driving forces of the company – it helps teams to become better, to work in even more comfortable conditions. We also hope that there will be fewer escalations and problem cases. Talent Managers will find it easier to work with collecting feedback thanks to the transparency of the big picture. The environment in teams can become more open and conducive to dialogue. All this will not happen at the click of your fingers – we provide tools that, if applied correctly, can lead the team in the right direction.

Halina: We are open to feedback – we welcome any ideas. This is a growing mini project that can be improved based on the wishes of the team. I would like it to become one of the factors for improving the culture of feedback throughout the company and become part of the corporate strategy in working with employees.