Gather Feedback on the Whole Enchilada

by | Jul 1, 2010 | Blog | 0 comments

Dear readers, the case study presented here is a cautionary tale about feedback.

All too often we put off getting feedback. Too time consuming. Too expensive. Too intrusive.

Or, we ask for feedback, but we gather it from a limited audience, rather than from all constituents, especially key stakeholders.

The latter is what I did, which is common among many communicators. We regularly poll our e-Newsletter readers, Intranet users, and our special meeting and event participants. However, we don’t systematically reach out to the executives and clients who fund our operations.

If we don’t watch it, we can be caught flat-footed, especially when the data diverge among the various groups.

For example, I’ve been doing regular online surveys of the readers of The LEAN COMMUNICATOR, including a survey that just closed. (More about the results later in this article.)

Now, contrast that to my consulting business. In the six-and-a-half years since I founded Connect Consulting Group, I’ve been gathering just-in-time, project-related feedback. This May was the first time I commissioned a qualitative survey of key clients. The informal check-ins are no substitute for the power of the anonymous broader research results. My clients shared some incredible insights that are inspiring me to act.

Doing the two research projects close together had another benefit. The results made it clear that I am serving two target markets simultaneously: The LEAN COMMUNICATOR readers for whom I advocate fire prevention and my change leadership clients for whom I’m a trusted, strategic advisor who partners with them to solve problems and fight fires.

How to resolve this dichotomy (or split personality)?  I’m now redefining my brand, with Enlightened Marketing,  which helps socially responsible small business owners identify and communicate their unique brand value.

My plan is to introduce my new brand this fall, which will be a tighter integration of LEAN COMMUNICATIONS and my change leadership work. Whatever my brand is, I know LEAN principles and practices will continue to influence my work and writing.

Meanwhile, I’m suspending publication of The LEAN COMMUNICATOR in its current incarnation because of the time commitment required. This is the last issue—even though 47% of the survey respondents requested no changes. (I’m sorry!)

As for the other results of The LEAN COMMUNICATOR survey? They were the best yet: 47% very satisfied and 50% satisfied compared to 21% and 75% respectively in November 2008.

So thank you, especially those of you who have been devoted readers over the past four years. And congratulations to Maureen Bulkley of Kinder Morgan, who won the survey drawing for the gift certificate.

Please stay with me as I figure out my new brand. I’ll continue to blog, including sending you monthly messages and status updates.

Now do as I say, not as I’ve done. Measure the whole, not just the parts. While frequent spot checks are helpful, you can’t count on them to tell you the whole story.

And keep your feedback coming! I’m interested in hearing your reactions. E-mail me at



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