How did I do?


Jim Carpenter, Founder, President & CEO
of Wild Birds Unlimited

Everyone wants to know, but how many of us ask, “How did I do?” Getting feedback from your customers, peers or supervisors on how you handled a situation, interaction or conversation can be one of the most productive ways to increase your effectiveness, efficiency and meet your goals.

At Wild Birds Unlimited, we have tried to make asking this question, and acting on the feedback, a foundational part of our culture. But, it can be hard to do. It makes you vulnerable and if you aren’t committed to making positive changes, it can move you out of your comfort zone.

For us, it starts at the top. Our CEO, Jim Carpenter, asks the question all the time. Whether it is how he handled congratulating one of our franchisees on a job well done, how he explained the way we provide leadership training to one of our franchise candidates or how he communicated goals and expectations to one of our proprietary vendors, he follows up by asking, “How did I do?” If the members of a leadership team aren’t prepared to expose themselves to both compliments and constructive criticism, how can we expect those team members who are on the front lines in our retail stores to be willing to receive that same level of feedback?

One of the tools we use to assess how we’re doing with our franchise store owners is an annual Franchisee Satisfaction Survey provided by Franchise Business Review (FBR), a third-party resource. We have participated in the FBR Annual Franchisee Satisfaction Survey for 11 years now. FBR surveys hundreds of franchise brands, using a series of in-depth questions, to compare satisfaction levels across all areas of operations. We are proud to say that Wild Birds Unlimited has ranked in FBR’s Top 10 of all franchises for 11 years running.

We have some of the most satisfied franchisees in the franchise industry! Yet, our pride in our accomplishments cannot keep us from paying serious attention to some of the more critical comments provided through the survey…and sometimes that criticism can be hard to hear. But, the reality is that while we may receive negative feedback, it opens the door for improvement.

If we never ask, “How did I do?” we will never foster a culture of real communication, a culture of commitment, or, in my opinion, a culture of true success.

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