Skip to main content

Do Your Business Feedback Loops Work?

If you have ever struggled to get a change to take hold in your business then you might want to look at the feedback loops in your business. A good feedback loop, or mechanism, can make the ongoing management of your processes a whole load easier?


Do you have them defined in your business?

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are one of the most obvious. Having a split between output (what happened) and process (what is happening) KPIs makes controlling the end results more achievable.
  • Management meetings that ask a series of well thought out questions can work really well too. The questions should stimulate action when required and reinforce accountability in those attending the meeting(s).
  • Audits are another method to find out what is going on. Are people still using the new method? Is it working the way it should?
  • Visual management is possibly one of the most effective methods. Can you devise ways to see the activity without having to interpret results and data? Being able to glance at a process and understand both its effectiveness and compliance makes for an incredibly effective feedback loop.
  • Routines help with visibility also. Defining what needs to be done when (not necessarily as rigid as a school timetable!) can help to shape the right kinds of behaviours by defining what they should look like in the first place. A routine also provides an objective base for reviewing performance, developing the process and communicating with other teams.

A good, solid, reliable feedback mechanism can tell you what is going on. This information can then help you to run your business more effectively. If you don't already have some good feedback mechanisms in your business then choose your methods according to how your business operates and then wait for the feedback!


Giles Johnston
Author of Business Process Re-Engineering

Popular posts from this blog

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Continuous Improvement and the Five Legged Race

Many improvement projects need the buy in of several people before they can progress. Amongst these people there will be some that have a firm view of what needs to happen and are keen to make progress. Some of the people won't be sure and they will need more time. Other people might not be that interested and have other priorities they want to focus on.

None of this is wrong.

It is an observation of mine and one that I see repeat on a regular basis with the businesses that I come into contact with.

But, if we take the principle from the observation we have an interesting improvement strategy (one that I personally use when I get stuck with my client's improvement projects).

You might have worked out the approach from the title of this blog post, but it is analogous to a three-legged race (or four, five, nine...). If someone in the group moves in the wrong direction and / or at the wrong speed then the whole group falls over.


In the example I gave at the start it is no differe…

Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing s…