January 12, 2017 12:47 pm Published by

How to Combine Feedback and FeedForward to Improve Performance

When most of us hear the word “feedback,” our minds go to a place of discomfort, possibly even dread. Our palms may start to sweat as we mentally replay all the tasks we’ve worked on lately, just waiting to hear what we’ve done wrong. Sounds familiar, right? But feedback is really about getting better. The person delivering the feedback typically isn’t trying to make you wrong; they’re trying to help you meet the potential they see.

Although realizing our mistakes hopefully leads to changed behavior and learning over time, we are often so guarded or defensive when receiving feedback that we don’t even hear the message clearly. The conversation needs to be altered to help the receiver improve instead of only correcting what’s wrong. Both the giver and receiver of feedback need to be open and prepare for the conversation.

Tips for giving effective feedback:

  • Acknowledge what has happened and realize you do not know the entire story
  • Appreciate what the person did well and communicate it to them sincerely
  • Establish a guiding value or shared commitment that warrants a change in behavior
  • Discuss alternative behaviors and be specific

Also, once you’ve received feedback, use Marshall Goldsmith’s FeedForward technique to ensure behavior change over time. To practice FeedForward, simply explain the behavior you’d like to get better at and ask several others for 1-2 suggestions on how to improve. Keep a running list of the responses and thank the person who offered them. Once you’ve heard a number of suggestions (10 or more) pick a few that make the most sense for you and begin to practice them daily. Being proactive in your self-improvement will eliminate the feeling of being “forced” to change a behavior and will inspire others to try FeedForward as well.

Pairing these feedback and FeedForward techniques leads to a more cohesive and effective company culture. If you are interested in Feedback/FeedForward training for your business, please contact [email protected]

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