- Leandro Herrero - https://leandroherrero.com -

If you ask people for input they will expect you do something with it, not to disappear in limbo

That is the trouble of many well-intentioned ‘crowd-sourced’ rounds of input in the form of focus groups or similar. We do a lot of work with clients on embedding a value system and their behavioural translation into the culture by using our Viral Change Mobilizing Platform [1]. There is always a temptation to go deep and broad in the organization asking for input on key behaviours that eventually may make a final set. The good news is that this in itself is a very good form of people engagement. The bad news is that it could easily create a population of frustrated people when they see that ‘their ideas’ have not been taken into account.

It’s easy to create an impression of democratic work but just as easy to disappoint people.

What is the answer?

  1. Don’t do the rounds (bad idea, people’s input counts!)
  2. Be very clear that input will be used but may not be reflected exactly in a final agreement
  3. Be very clear that somebody, somewhere, will have to make a judgement (in our case, usually the leadership team)
  4. Explain how the input will be used
  5. Never, ever make it a scientific experiment. Asking for broad input and identifying trends is not science, but it works

In the early days of Viral Change™ , about 15 years ago at least, we identified a behaviour that we called ‘blind input’: ‘I give my input, but I don’t see the impact, I don’t receive feedback, I hope somebody will do something with it’. This is still a persistent pattern to take care of.

Don’t play limbo with people’s views. Bad idea.