3 Strategies CEOs Can Use to Remain Objective About Their Business

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Cultivate Transparency and Honesty

Without a culture that encourages vulnerability, transparency and honesty, you’ll never be able to get objective feedback from your team or your customers. This type of culture starts from the top and works its way throughout the organization.

Setting the tone with transparency is crucial. As a leader, you must be strong and resilient, but you also need to be able to admit your vulnerabilities in the right settings.

Transparency allows you to do this, and both your executives and your employees will follow suit.

Find People to Give Objective Feedback

In every organization, there are people whose roles lend themselves to objective feedback. On the product side, your user experience designers tend to be closer to customers, and thus can deliver their fresh perspective.

The same goes for other employees in client-facing roles such as sales, support and account management. On the business side, your finance people can be a good gut-check: After all, numbers don’t lie. They also tend to perceive the organization with less emotion than someone closely involved with the product or brand.

There are probably other people in unique roles who want to (and are empowered to) give you objective feedback. If your culture is designed in such a way to foster this feedback, you probably won’t like what they have to say all the time — which makes it all the more important to listen to them.

If you don’t, you’ll always view your company through rose-tinted glasses, but that’s a dangerous proposition: You’ll never know what people truly think because no one will feel empowered to tell you.

Consequently, you won’t be able to shape your organization in the way you need to so it becomes what you want it to be.

Create a Feedback Loop

Receiving objective feedback from employees and clients is all well and good, but without processes in place to make changes based on this feedback, it’s not really worth much to your company.

On the product side, it’s crucial to have a feedback loop in place to vet client ideas, prioritize them, and — if they’re good — incorporate them into your roadmap. We use Intercom’s live-chat feature to field feedback from users, as well as an internal alias where team members can suggest new product features or updates.

On the organizational side, it’s equally important to create feedback loops for employees to share what’s working, what’s not, what’s missing, and what’s unclear. At my company, we send a survey with these questions to staff at the end of every team sprint (about seven-to-eight weeks apart).

While reading this feedback is often tough, we always come away with some common trends that we can then address with a concrete action plan during the following sprint.

In Conclusion

As a CEO, it’s impossible to remain objective about your product and company without calling on external feedback. You won’t get these insights without cultivating a culture where honest feedback is encouraged.

Find those people within your organization (and outside of it) who see things with an unbiased perspective. Then, give them clear channels of communication to relay ideas and issues back to you.

Once you have a critical mass of feedback in hand, create a clear plan of action to address it, and feed your learnings back into the process.