When you think of ‘feedback’ what is the first thing that comes to mind? Things such as: constructive criticism, opinions from others about your performance, or a conversation about what’s working and what’s not. Feedback as Marshall Goldsmith explains is usually a critique of past behaviours. Looking to the mistakes of the past does not empower employees; rather it emphasizes and focuses on weaknesses, breakdowns and failure. This can lead to defensiveness, self-fulfilling prophecies and often has little impact on change.
Instead Goldsmith’s concept of ‘feedforward’ is forward looking, solution oriented and emphasizes strengths. He explains that no matter how carefully ‘feedback’ is given it is almost always taken personally. Feedforward on the other hand, focuses on providing suggestions for the future that can be listened to and chosen by the receiver based on what he/she feels will make an impact. Feedback is associated with judgement and negativity over the past. Feedforward is associated with helping and positive forward motion. It empowers employees to focus on what they want to grow/improve going forward and it enables them to ownership over their own development.
Which one would you prefer to receive? Feedback? Or Feedforward?
For a more detailed explanation and examples of how to use feedforward, I encourage you to read Marshall Goldsmith’s article at http://www.marshallgoldsmith.com/articles/try-feedforward-instead-feedback/
Does your organization provide regular feedback? Listen to employee feedback? Respond quickly to employee feedback? Employees want to feel that they are actively involved in their organization and that their feedback matters and will be heard; even if its not adopted.
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