How the Happiness Door became a lesson in asking for feedback

It’s been said by some of our members that our community is “easier and better than Google to find answers to their questions.”

A recently question from Magdalena Ziemer is a perfect example of how this works in our community.

But before we get started, this is what you get when typing ‘Happiness Door for Workshop Feedback’ in Google:

We can’t complain about the number of results for this Management 3.0 practice, can we? 17.7 Million results. Unless you have a non-structured-data-analysis application permanently at your disposal, it is going to be an interesting challenge to:

  • Start reading from the first result until you’ve found what you were exactly looking for. Or,
  • Scroll through the pages of results until you find the one or two articles that help you determine how to actually use a feedback door for your workshop or meeting feedback.


Better than Google to find answers

So why is the Happy Melly community so much better than Google to find answers?

The simple answer is because we are a community of professionals gathered around the common purpose of making the workplace a happier one.

So when a member asks a question on our exclusive Slack community, she’s asking close to 1000 professionals. For most of such questions there will always be a handful willing to provide examples and answers based on their own experiences.

Professionals like Antti and Marek, seasoned Management 3.0 facilitators:

Antti: “I would suggest encouraging people to give feedback as soon as they want, especially if there’s something that would make the workshop better in their viewpoint.”

Marek: “I use Feedback door to incorporate feedback on every evening after the whole training day.”

Or the always lending a helping hand are a couple of our resident agile coaches like Sarah and Tomas:

Sarah: “Ask what questions people have before the course, to make sure you answer them.”

Tomas: “The sooner you get the feedback the better you will be able to incorporate the feedback into the rest of the workshop.”

Using a Happiness Door for Workshop Feedback

So what did Magdalena get as answers to her question? What follows is the summary of the results from that discussion about how to best utilize the Happiness Door.

Get feedback before even starting a workshop or meeting

Ask what questions people have before the course, to make sure you answer them. Then at the end of the first day also have a question board for people to add their follow-up inquiries. That way you can customize the course in real time to meet the needs of the attendees.

The idea is touch base with attendees to remind them to come and then also to make the course seem, feel and actually be more catered. Founder of Lean Change Management, as well as a Management 3.0 facilitator, Jason Little has a pre-workshop survey he sends.

Continuous feedback during your event

How often do you ask your colleagues for feedback (e.g. before lunch & at the end) or anytime they want?

Put up a Happiness Door in the room leave it up all day. Do an introduction of the Happiness Door at the start of the course. Read aloud if you notice things to discuss etc but let people add when they want, encouraging people to give feedback as soon as they want, especially if there’s something that would make the workshop better from their perspectives.

Getting that feedback early leaves you time to respond to it. In addition to introducing the Happiness Door at the start, I usually encourage people to give feedback at the start of breaks. Getting information on how participants think we are doing early on and regularly helps set the path for a course or meeting. And since it isn’t much work to pick up a Post-It, jot a note, and slap it on the door on your way to get some coffee means that there’s little work someone has to do to give anonymous or credited feedback.

Experiment with your Happiness or Feedback Door. Sometimes it is only feedback with numbers, in some cases there are only positive points about what was good and is other cases number + 1 point what you like the most on the training + 1 point to improve. Be specific what you want things to mean and leave a reminder on the door, wall, or window, where you’re gathering feedback.

Jurgen Appelo’s version of the Happiness Door simply uses a happy, a sad and a “meh” smiley or emoji and then allows people to add stickies along the spectrum as they see fit.

Feedback at the end of the day

Use a feedback door to incorporate feedback at the close of a full training day. Here you’ll gain insight into how good is the location, temperature, lunch break, coffee quality, overall pace. Look at it as the average feedback on everything that happened that day.

Don’t forget more detailed, less public feedback after the fact

For assessment of the whole workshop, either use a separate questionnaire in the end of a workshop or an online assessment survey. Add a disclaimer at the end if you can then quote people’s feedback for marketing of future events.

Now, don’t forget to ask for feedback the right way too

Let me close this with a last comparison, because I’m sure many people think along the lines of speed. Of course you can ask any community of professionals, but, particularly with virtual communities and increasingly asynchronous communication like over Slack, you need to have patience, it may take a few days before you have a serious answer. If I’m time pressured — and let’s face it aren’t we all, most of the time — I’ll still Google and start reading.

So, how much time did Magdalena have to spend on this? First, she had to type in the question in Slack. That takes about as much time as she would have to spend typing it on Google. She did that at 7:14am. When she reconnected to Slack at 10:45pm that same day (!) all of the answers in the summary were at her disposal. In merely 13 hours she went from asking a question to have valuable, concrete and actionable answers that fit the context of the situation and allow for follow up.

In my world, that beats speedreading 17.5 Million articles, anytime!

How would you use a Happiness Door to obtain Workshop Feedback? What questions would you ask to a community of a thousand Workplace Happiness professionals? If you want to ask your question, you only have to join our Professional Happiness Association, we’ll be more than happy to help you beat Google.

Further Reading:

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This article is written by Patrick Verdonk on April 12th 2017.

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