When business gets busy, it's easy to get tunnel-vision--relying only on yourself and what's in front of you to reach success. If you find yourself in this situation, it's probably time to welcome someone from the outside to provide your business with constructive feedback and advice to see your business through a different lens.
At The UPS Store, our team highly values feedback, and an outsider's perspective can refresh the business or kickstart new ideas. One way to do this is to leverage committees or counsels to formally receive feedback from experts, peers or even customers.
Let the Experts be Experts
Asking outsiders to step into your business and provide you with feedback and advice is a wonderful way to keep yourself informed about issues outside of your perspective. For example, Honeywell Aerospace has realized that people outside their business see it much differently than insiders do. Their Global Customer Committee is made up of outside professionals who come together every year for the betterment of Honeywell Aerospace. Their end goal? Reaching levels of innovation only possible with the combined brainpower of hundreds of people who bring their own personal experience into the brainstorming room and onto the drawing board.
When I was at Jaguar, we brought in a group of subject matter experts to educate and counsel us on the matter of multicultural marketing. Where I saw a lack of knowledge in myself, I turned to the experts and they helped not only me, but the company as a whole to execute more multicultural marketing. In the end, it was a win-win.
A Safe Place
Committees can provide a safe place for members to share honest feedback. Opinions are shared more freely when people know they are looking to be heard. Don't be afraid to hear people's genuine opinions about your business. In fact, 96 percent of people believe that, when administered correctly, negative feedback helps drive better performance. Hearing something that stings, may help your business grow.
The UPS Store currently has a committee of store owners who share their experience with us on what's working and what's not. As the day-to-day face of our business, we receive so much valuable information from them as they are in contact with customers every day, helping us to close the gap between corporate and consumer. Through our franchisees, we get real-time stories about what is working and what is not.
Recognition Goes a Long Way
People enjoy being recognized, in fact 83 percent of people would rather be recognized than given a gift or reward for their work. Committees can be a great outlet for recognizing outside sources. Communicate to your committee that they are a very vital piece of the big picture and that their feedback is of high value to you and your company. When you open a space for people to step into your business with you they will feel a sense of shared responsibility and help the company reach its highest potential.
Create Community, Cultivate Creativity
When your members feel appreciated, they will also feel at home. Committees are a great way to build a sense of community where the dynamics are fluid. At our company we also utilize the Small Biz Buzz, an online community we created for small business owners to connect with The UPS Store team as well as interact with other fellow small business owners. Their valuable ideas and feedback help us create and improve existing services specifically catered to our customers. Studies show that we are more creative when we alternate between both solo work and group work. Allow your community of committees to become the time where you allow ideas, thoughts, and dreams to flow.
For business owners, committees truly have a priceless value. For me, there is no better way to break free from the rut of dead-end ideas than creating a space for outside perspectives.