3 years ago, I accepted the role in leading our worship and production team at my church. I wasn't sure if I even wanted the role at the time, we were sort of in shambles. Today, I really believe our team is thriving, and it's due to a few things, one of those being critical feedback. Besides focusing on healthy relationships and culture, one of the very first things we put in place was good, critical feedback. What's good critical feedback? It's feedback that your team needs to hear for the sake of progress. Feedback with the purpose of supporting your team's mission and vision. Our first step towards this was implementing a meaningful review after each weekend. We celebrated the wins of the weekend. What was great? What are we proud of? What things are repeatable? But good critical feedback doesn't stop there. After we celebrated the wins, we spent a good portion of time on what we(and many) call "The Last 10%."
The last 10% is the things that no one REALLY wants to hear or talk about. It's the stuff that's easy to just "let go" because we'd rather do that than press into possible conflict or tension. But for the sake of staying true to our mission and vision for the weekend and making better, we started talking about the last 10%. One failure or misstep was owned by the entire team. And slowly but surely, our team has become a force to be reckoned with because we have a single goal in mind that's bigger than any one person on the team, and that is to bring our very best to God for His Church.
A few weeks ago, our management team went through a review(led by Joel, our boss, and lead pastor) of where we currently are in a church, and it's helped me solidify an even better way to get every ounce of good critical feedback out of our team. We won't use the model every Monday for our review of the weekend, but we will and have used this now to review several other things we do around here. I'd like to give these to you in hopes that it helps you start or refine a culture of Critical Feedback in your teams. Whether you're a CEO at a fortune 500 or a worship pastor at your church, I believe if you implement this into your process, you and your team will be better for it.
4 Critical Questions - Right | Wrong | Confusing | Missing
1. What was RIGHT? What were the things that were portable and repeatable? Wins can be as simple as starting the planning process two weeks earlier than you did before. The perfect song was chosen for a certain part of the service. People really seemed to enjoy xyz at the event.
2. What was WRONG? This is the last 10%, the "let's never do that again." Accountability here is vital because what was wrong could end up being someone's attitude or punctuality. It's important to have a strong level of trust asking this question in a group of people. As a leader, gauge the temperature of the room and take baby steps. The more that you press into the tension and reality of what was wrong, the easier it will become and the better your team will get.
3. What was CONFUSING? This can be a tricky question to ask, but critical because if it's confusing to you and your team, the people closest to the people, process, and product, then it's definitely confusing to everyone else. Confusion might look like "how did what we do fit into our mission and vision" or "how did we get from where we started to where we ended?" This question may add to your WRONG and MISSING categories, so keep note.
4. What was MISSING? What did we forget? What didn't we think of? Hindsight is always 20/20, "man, we really should have thought about that" was something I said in a meeting just a couple of days ago. Take note, because when you write down all the things you missed the first time, there's a lot of grace. When you miss it the second time, this now moves to the wrong category.
The last thing for you leaders is to LISTEN more than you SPEAK. This is something that I'm always working at because I'm very much a verbal processor, but this is so important to your team, and they absolutely notice this. I hope this is helpful to you and your team as you start or continue a culture of feedback. As always, if you need a sounding board, I'm just an email away.