“I work with them so closely I can’t ask for feedback”.
“We’ve been working with them so frequently that I’m speaking with them every week, sometimes every day. We’re always updating each other on what’s going on. Under the circumstances it feels awkward, even unnecessary, to ask for feedback. Maybe once it’s all over.”
Our customers often tell us that while they’re comfortable asking for feedback conversations with clients they see infrequently, they find it much harder when the working relationship is close – for example, during a big project. It feels like interrupting the flow of the work, and that seems difficult or even dangerous.
But you can be in close communication and still not know everything the other person is thinking. You can be busy on transactions and still not necessarily do all the right things, or pick up all the clues that you could be doing more. In fact, that can be the time when it is really helpful to take a step back.
We encourage our customers not to wait until after the project is completed, or after the end of the busy season, but to find the time and the courage when they’re in the thick of it to stop, sit down with their clients, and ask them a few simple, incisive questions. Not “what are we doing”, but “how are we doing?”