July 14, 2023
Read time: 2:49 minutes
Most employee feedback processes are a waste of time.
🚫 Self evaluations
🚫 360 evaluations
🚫 Peer evaluations
🚫 Annual evaluations
You know, the stuff you learned (and despised) from your days in corporate.
So when we became firm owners, most of us opted to not give any type of structured feedback to our team.
Why would we?
❌ They're a total time suck.
❌ They're an admin burden.
❌ And nothing useful comes from them.
But the truth is that you and your team both need that feedback to happen.
✅ People need to know what they're doing wrong.
(So they can do less of it.)
✅ People need to know what they're doing right.
(So they can do more of it.)
It seems we have a paradox on our hands, don't we?
A few years ago, a mentor showed me a powerful way to give (and receive!) meaningful employee feedback. Best of all, it takes 30 minutes and there's virtually no admin involved.
I call it The 3x30 Method and it's simple.
Here's how it works...
The purpose of The 3x30 Method is for you and each member of your team give and receive feedback.
When done correctly, these questions should give you:
1️⃣ Insight into what is and isn't working in your firm
2️⃣ Early indicators if there are issues with morale
3️⃣ A low-stress opportunity to let someone know if they aren't meeting expectations
THE 3 CORE QUESTIONS
At the core of The 3x30 Method are 3 questions:
• What's going right?
• What's going wrong?
• What help do you need?
These questions are answered in a 1:1 setting (Zoom is fine). The expectation is that BOTH people have answered these questions (in writing) ahead of time.
The meeting should take no longer than 30 minutes once a month.
Let's break down each question...
What's going right?
I want people on my team to let me know about ANYTHING that's going well for them! This could be in their role, in the business in general, or in life.
It helps me keep a pulse on what lights them up and the things I need to continue doing.
When it's my turn to share, I make sure I hit on what they're doing right and what's going right in the firm. This is a great opportunity to reinforce positive behaviors (which is necessary).
What's going wrong?
Similar to what's going right, I want to hear about anything they feel isn't working. Again, this could be relative to their role, the firm overall, or just in life. I also like to probe for things that I'm doing that they don't love.
Yes, it can be hard to hear this type of feedback sometimes. But I'd rather hear about it earlier (while I can fix it) than later (as they're quitting).
When it's my turn to share, I like to be candid about three things:
First, if I've made any big mistakes lately, I share them. This models humility. But it also shows that it's ok (and safe!) to make mistakes in the firm.
Second, if there are any aspects of the business that aren't going well, I like to share them. Maybe we just launched a new marketing campaign and it's tanking. Even if the person I'm talking to doesn't touch marketing, I still point it out.
I think it's important to openly discuss what isn't working. You'd be amazed at the ideas people might come up with!
Finally, this is your opportunity to let them know if they aren't meeting expectations. This is the hardest part of the conversation but also the most critical.
Offer SPECIFIC examples as well as what "good" looks like.
Don't skip this because it feels itchy.
My rule with people: when you fire someone, it should never come as a surprise.
What help do you need?
This should become the safe space where your team lets you know if they need help.
They need more tools.
They have a problematic client.
Their left mouse button is always stuck and it drives them nuts.
These things matter. Each of them.
This should be their chance to let you know how you can better support them or get them what they need.
But it's also your chance to ask them for help.
I didn't realize this at first, but when you tell your people that you need help, it builds trust.
First, it shows that you're willing to be vulnerable. And vulnerability is the first builder of trust.
Second, it empowers them. Why? It gives them an opportunity to step up and help solve big problems that the boss is facing! That's kinda cool.
Meaningful 2 way feedback.
Whenever you are ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
1. The Inner Circle - every month my team and I go live and share the most impactful lessons we've learned in our journey to start, scale, and optimize our own CFO firm (including live Q&A). Plus you'll get access to our private community of nearly 150 fractional CFOs.
2. The CFO Academy - This is a 7 week deep dive into the exact playbooks that I use to run my firm, KFE Solutions. "The CFO Academy was ESSENTIAL for me. It helped me fix several things that I was doing wrong as an owner. Worth every penny."
3. If you'd like more amazing (and free!) content about starting, scaling, or optimizing your Fractional CFO firm check out:
→ The CFO Report on YouTube (if you love video)
→ The CFO Report on Apple Podcast (if you prefer audio)