Have you ever wondered how to create an environment that encourages open, honest, and even uncomfortable real-time feedback? As an Agile coach, I believe that continuous improvement thrives on transparency and the courage to address harsh realities. Together with my colleagues from GEDVILLO Consulting we do a lot of workshops and trainings, would like to share an insightful approach that we are recently experimenting with during our workshops – the “Red Card” approach.
Flip the game – introduce a Red Card to receive the brutal facts about you!
Recently, we decided to flip the rules of the game, allowing participants to give a red card to us as the trainers and facilitators. We provide a simple yet powerful message: “This is your red card. Raise it whenever you feel the need to share a thought, observation, or criticism about me or the workshop. No restrictions, no penalties – just the freedom to voice anything.”
The Impact of the Red Card: Priceless
Yes, finally received my first red card! The insights I gained were invaluable. One participant bravely pointed out that my facilitation style unintentionally stifled independent thinking in the group. It was a humbling moment, but addressing this shortcoming was crucial for creating a more effective learning environment.
After the workshop, I spoke with the participant who raised the red card about his experience. He shared, “I felt empowered to use my red card and share my honest feedback, thus impacting the outcome and overall experience of the workshop.” Others agreed, and a comment arose – “This is how psychological safety is built!”
A Lesson for Organizations
The Red Card approach taught me one more time the importance of real-time feedback. While end-of-workshop surveys are helpful, having instant feedback in front of everyone elevates its significance. This made me think about how this approach could be applied within companies and organizations. What if each employee had the power to raise a “Red Card” when they see that words are not supported by actions, or that brutal facts are not considered and avoided? How much more valuable would that feedback be for driving positive change? And one more related question with what I am working on constantly – how many organisation founders and executives actually can let go of their egos and admit that they don’t know something?
Luckily, I have helped and know some organisation leaders who are creating similar environments, but sadly to say – we are still in the minority.