You’ve just been to a concert in the Great Hall of your city. Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”. Berlin Philharmonic. Sir Simon Rattle conducting. Impressive, massive Choir.
(For the non initiated to classic music, the above is good, very good, trust me; the 3 Michelin star of music)
Secretively, some little tears in your eyes.
Now imagine, just leaving the Hall you are handed out a Feed Back Form:
Did the concert meet your expectations?
Did the conductor have the right skills?
Was he knowledgeable on the subject?
Was the content appropriate?
Which movement did you like best? Rate from 0 to 5 here.
If you could change the order of the movements, what would be your 1,2,3,4,5?
Was the choir suitable? Too big? Too small?
The tempo. Rate here, 0 too slow, 5 too fast.
Were the players displaying the necessary skills? Did they meet your expectations?
Your 3 key learning?
Your 3 take away?
One new skill you have learned?
Would you recommend to a friend?
Preposterous, of course. But only because it is a extreme caricature.
In organizations, we have small versions of this all the time: meetings, conferences, conventions, training programmes.
Please, please, please don’t go away without filling in the form. My boss needs the form. I need the form. The form.
But, of course, we need this! I can hear people.
This is how we learn. Actually we don’t learn much from those forms, we just have a bunch of numbers and scores that can be justified up and down as you wish
This is how we do things here. And, may I ask, why?
It’s a best practice! A best practice of what? constructing forms?
Post-event, post-meeting, post-jamboree feed back systems are a myth. Too much of a ritual to avoid, I know, but still useless. Like many rituals.
The person asked feels important to be asked (particularly if received with a ‘you are part of a very selective group of people who’). The person building the form feels important; he holds the key of either salvation or eternal fire. The presenter/leader/speaker feels important, particularly if the scores are high. He can show them. The organiser feels important because, on the whole, the feed back was very good. The organiser’s boss feels very important spending that money on that event. And so on.
Ok, ok, ok. I feel the heat already. Here is my alternative 4 question (with sophisticated scoring system):
Bullshit index: zero to ten
Made me think: zero, didn’t; ten still nagging in my brain
Glad I came: scale from OMG what a waste, to imagine what I could have missed.
Or something like that.
Systematic, blind, automatic pilot, form filling, fed back is grossly overrated.