NONPROFIT/SCHOOL LEADERS AND WHY YOU AND YOUR ORGANIZATION ARE HATED . . .
Let's start out by saying that the title of this entry was meant to be a little sarcastic . . . while at the same time, not too far from your perceived truth (sorta).
Getting feedback from your employees, clients, students, and supporters is a great way for you to grow. Admitting that there could be improvement made, is what we like to call "taking the paper bag off your head". The ability to see who you might really be without having to pretend that you or your organization is perfect.
Whether you are the school superintendent, nonprofit leader, mayor, or for profit CEO, it can feel scary for some to ask for feedback. There are many leaders (who ironically preach the concept of GIVING critical feedback) who are worried they will get a bunch of results which say how much their staff hates them and their organization. Often this is fear getting the best of us. Not to mention leaders forget not to take things personal, so if there is something about their leadership style which might need to change or if someone does not like a certain policy, they think to themselves, "they hate me as a leader", and start losing faith in themselves. Yet imagine how much better your relationship with staff might be if you knew what made them tick? Think about how much more money your organization could raise if you understood what your donors really thought of you? Consider how much more staff will feel loved if they knew you were setting up an opportunity for them to give REAL feedback?
If we just described you, there are four things we would like to point out:
1) The only way to become better is to learn where growth is needed. Getting feedback from others is a great way to see where that personal and organizational growth might be needed and a great side product is that if changes are made, your team will feel like they were part of the process.
2) There are theories for and against the thought of anonymous surveys and interviews. Some culture experts will state that true teams should have an environment which allows honest discussion and feedback. . . .and we can't argue that. However, in reality two things need to be considered. First, as awesome as that sounds, there are just some personality types, no matter the work culture, do not feel comfortable telling the "higher ups" what they really think if their name is attached to it, for obvious reasons.
Second, the size of an organization also makes a difference. Sure, if you are a small 10 person staff, then perhaps you can create an environment for honest feedback. Yet if you have a team of 100, 500, 1,000, 100,000, etc . . . with so many personality types, it's just a tougher road, so anonymous reporting might be best.
Here is an article from Forbes which gives an interesting viewpoint on the importance of getting anonymous feedback: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2021/07/12/five-reasons-your-organization-needs-an-anonymous-employee-feedback-program/?sh=3f25378bcf19
3) Far too often organizations just use an internal survey and call it good. They almost use it as a checklist item they can cross off. Using a third party to do this work can make a huge difference. For one, it gives you a final report which feels transparent. Even if you do an internal anonymous survey, some team members and clients are going to feel as if the results were being reported in a biased way. Using a third party not only makes every feel better but suggested action steps given by the third party will feel transparent as well.
On top of that, third parties are able to interview some of your staff people, again, that could be anonymous or not. Having 1 on 1 conversations with staff members and clients, you are getting more than just numbers. You are getting stories, details, and examples which help drive you to better results. Example . . . imagine if you only did an internal survey, where you learn that customer service is poor because it scored a 4 out of 10. As a result you revamp the entire operation. Instead what if you allowed a third party to interview clients of your organization and find out that the real problem is that the person answering the phone is rude? If you knew that, it might have changed the way you handled the situation.
4) Make sure once you get a report of all the feedback, you work with your leadership team to create a priority list of what to take care of first. Figure out which things are most critical or which things may have been mentioned the most. This will help show to everyone how much you really care plus you can't fix everything right away. Keep in mind though that you are never going to please everyone all the time. If you try to, you are going to drive yourself up the wall. So do what you can, with the resources you have, and keep that in mind.
Is Midwest Studies Group able to be of service to you? Of course we can. Leading organizational culture reports is something we have done for nonprofits, schools, and government organizations. It's something that can be geared towards leadership, work culture, client feedback, etc. (At the bottom of this post, we have included some feedback from clients who have used us.)
As always we are suggesting, YES we would love for you to use MSG but honestly . . . as long as you reach out to ANY firm out there, and look into getting feedback to grow, that's what really matters.
Recent feedback about our organizational study reports:
- Some of our clients called us after being interviewed with you and they loved talking with your team. They not only were able to give feedback but they said they actually had FUN while having the conversation. - Nonprofit Client
- Our school was floored by the results. It was great to see all the things teachers need to share. We are now implementing some changes because we now realize how important certain things were, as we strive to always improve our relationship with staff. - Public School System Client
- Thanks for taking the time to lead a study with our employees. Doing so has helped our leadership team move forward in a positive direction. It has allowed our staff members to feel like they were part of the process instead of an after thought. - Government Client
- Your study results were just what we needed. Getting feedback from our donors has changed the way we communicate with them, and we have seen a change in results. People in the community are more excited to support us now. - Nonprofit Client