Feedback focuses on the past something we have done, and therefore can be quite limiting. However skilled you are at delivering feedback it all runs the risk of being personal. When delivered badly often elicits defensive behaviour, and a positive developmental conversation disintegrates.
Feedforward is about giving suggestions for the future. Identify a behaviour you would like to change or develop. Ensure that you have selected something that will make a significant and positive difference in your life.
Describe the behaviour to a colleague/coach/line manager it can be as simple as
“I want to be a better listener”
Ask for feedforward, suggestions for the future that might help them achieve a positive change in that behaviour. Below are some examples:-
- Making notes at a meeting to test your listening skills
- Setting up one to one meetings with other peers
- Listening to an audio book and making a summary or book review
The exercise should be “fun” and motivating a very different vibe to feedback.
An article by Marshall Goldsmith author of MOJO claims several reasons it is worth giving it a try:-
- We can change the future. We can’t change the past
- It can be more productive to help people learn to be “right” than prove they were “wrong”
- Feedforward is especially suited to successful people
- Feedforward can come from anyone who knows about the task
- People do not take feedforward as personally as feedback
- Feedback can reinforce personal negative self talk & insecurities
- We don’t like negative feedback and we don’t like giving it
- Feedforward can cover almost all the same material as feedback
- Feedforward an be much faster and more efficient
- Feedforward can be used by all – it is not a power or authoritative tool
- People tend to listen more attentively to feedforward
There is still a place for feedback but by engaging your whole team in feedforward there might be more of a growth opportunity. A great question is “How can I better help our team in the future?”. Ask every team member to identify a behaviour. Then as a whole group facilitate a feedforward session.
Please do get in touch if you would like nuggets to host a Feedforward workshop firstname.lastname@example.org