Revisiting Feedback…Give ‘Feedforward’ a Try.
Written by Deanna Hunter
Nobody likes feedback. It is almost always associated with judgement, its usually negative and in many cases it creates a feeling of conflict. It has become a dirty word, not just at work but in many aspects of our lives. In most cases giving feedback is really code for “I don’t like something you are doing and want you to stop”.
So why not take a new approach? Why not try ‘feedforward’?
To improve performance, try taking the situation at hand and providing the person with a forward thinking ask or opportunity. For instance, you might say, “I need you to be more open minded”. Or, “You could speed up the intake of customers at the service desk”. Or, “Have you ever thought about presenting your reports another way?”. Or even, “For the next meeting I suggest you try….”
Feedforward is about ideas. Its about solutions. Its about changing the future (since you can’t change the past). Its about finding new ways to act or think. Its tends to be more motivational than feedback and can even be empowering for the receiver.
I’m not sure that feedforward should always replace feedback. Feedback done well can be important. But, I do think feedforward can be a powerful way to engage in a much more positive dialogue with your employees and teammates. And it might lead to quicker improvements and even act as a form of self-development.
Try a little feedforward next time you see something that needs improvement. See what it creates.