You're standing over the stove, adding some more garlic and basil to your marinara sauce. You dip in a spoon and pass it over for a taste to your spouse, partner, puppy, roommate, best friend, or stranger off the street upon whom you try out new recipes.
And you ask the most critical of all survey questions: So?
And based on their feedback you tweak the sauce until it is ready to serve.
It used to be difficult to share prototypes of products or drafts of documents with others, but that's no longer the case. Yet too often we still work like the Wizard of Oz, toiling away behind the curtain and only revealing the final product to our loyal subjects.
That should change.
We ask people to test drive a new web site design, so why don't we ask them to test drive the proposed schedule for the upcoming leadership conference? As part of a volunteer task I accepted, each month ASAE's Associations Now magazine staff sends me a 5-minute survey assessing the appeal of various article titles and descriptions. It's a fun creative break for me, it hopefully provides useful input to the editorial and design teams, and it makes me rethink some of the language I use in my own writing efforts.
Technology makes it easy to share works in progress and to rapidly get feedback from a broad range of people who ultimately with vote with their feet and their wallets on the value of our creation. Web sites abound that no nothing more than offer consumer reviews about products.
The old adage is that people support what they help create. Being asked to provide input is a small invitation to be a part of the creative process. As author Patrick Lencioni has said, "Weighing in is often the prerequisite for buying in."
So let's draw on others' unique perspectives, invite their perceptions and feedback, and refine our efforts accordingly. We're asking for their voice, not their vote, so the ultimate choices you make about a program or service aren't necessarily tied to the feedback you receive. What input you get, however, is likely to positively inform the final choices you make and how you introduce any changes or new initiatives to your stakeholders.
Note: Wednesday What If is a weekly feature applying the "what if" mindset associated with abductive reasoning or logic in an effort to stretch our thinking about what is desirable and very frequently, quite doable.