“Keeping It Real” to Remain Competitive!

During a conversation with a mentor recently, he stated, “Businesses do not compete, Victoria. People do!” This is such a true statement. Over the years I’ve witnessed organizations shift their focus to people in order to cultivate feedback-rich environments. More and more, organizations are trying to practice transparency and provide development opportunities for their people, both on the job and for personal growth.

This is the evolution of organizations that are attempting to remain competitive but know that it starts with their employees and not solely their strategy, products, or services. These attributes translate into what our ABR team calls a “keep it real” environment—being rich in open feedback, which truly maximizes on individual growth and in turn helps the organization stay competitive.

Cultivating a feedback-rich environment presents challenges for organizations at the leadership and frontline level because there is always a fear of conflict and resistance. Often people assume that the sharing of feedback and honesty is a byproduct of “personal” relationships; however, it is truly a product of the surrounding culture. Recently our ABR team collaborated to establish what it means to be an ABR team member—our values and our culture. We are effective, strong, and compete in this industry because we are willing to constantly grow, we empower our team members, and we feed off of the energy and strengths of each other.

Here are some of the ways we promote a feedback-rich “keep it real” environment to drive that behavior and synergy.

  • Build rapport and trust with colleagues by being human. Sounds weird, right? Be willing to share your emotions, interests, and the desire to understand others in a genuine way.
  • Promote peer-to-peer, peer-to-leader, and leader-to-peer feedback. We are diverse in background, experience, and demographics, so it’s helpful to share balanced feedback and learn from each other.
  • Give and receive a compliment. Sometimes we deserve a pat on the back for being so awesome!
  • Consider everyone’s processing styles. Some people process out loud; others internally. Be aware and respectful of processing styles but do not hesitate to ask for clarity.
  • Be respectful…period.
  • Speak up! If you are not receiving what you need, you are frustrated, or you need clarity, say something. A respectful work environment doesn’t mean always being in agreement—it is a willingness to step out and communicate what you need.
  • Share learning experiences and help develop each other. Share books, readings, balanced feedback, and reflections.
  • Hold each other accountable to “keep it real” with each other. It’s the best feeling when, as colleagues, we feel empowered to remind one another of this when addressing both internal and external situations.
  • Have fun! 

We foster confidence, creativity, happiness, and inclusion across our team and with our clients, but it doesn’t happen without actively listening to each other every day. As a team, we are strong and these strategies allow us to put our best foot forward and compete within our industry, which, ironically, is all about personal development.

What does a feedback-rich and “keep it real” environment look like within your organization? Does it exist? Can it exist? What needs to change? 

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