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Blog Author:
Ashka Wirk
Architect. Builder. Crystal Gazer.
Ashka Wirk is the Strategy Practice Lead of Victoria, BC-based management consulting firm, Berlineaton. She is a Certified Management Consultant and certified executive coach with 15 years of experience working alongside leaders to develop blueprints for building bolder futures for themselves, their teams, and their organizations. As a former private sector CEO, she brings a collaborative, practical and solution-focused approach to consulting and coaching engagements to create clarity, identify action, and generate impact.
The Gift of Feedback
Good feedback is the key to improvement.  Here are some statistics and insights that might help you provide more of it, and ask for it more often:

What is Feedback?
Feedback is giving or receiving specific information about a situation or a behavior with a view to helping improve the situation or modify the behavior.  

Why is Feedback Important?
Feedback provides us with the opportunity to share our thoughts and opinions and understand how others see and experience us.  It allows the giver to be authentic and honest, and allows the receiver to take the information and reject or integrate it into his or her actions, behaviors and understanding. 

Feedback, when provided effectively, can help people find answers to these vital questions, learn from their experience, and improve their future performance.
  • Why does my role exist?
  • What am I supposed to achieve?
  • How is my performance tracking?
  • What is the best way for me to have impact?
  • How do I influence others?
  • What is the quality of my relationships with my manager, team members and colleagues?
While feedback can be effective for improving performance, when feedback sessions are poorly delivered, they can harm employee engagement and decrease productivity levels. Studies have suggested that although almost 70% of feedback recipients will perform above average, 30% of feedback interventions actually hurt performance. 1           

What steps can you take to make your feedback as effective as possible? Here are 6 tips:

1. Make feedback a regular habit.  
Practice giving and receiving feedback to one another.  Don’t save it for those rare times when you are in a performance review, or when you have to take corrective action. In fact, by some estimates, more than one-third of U.S. firms are replacing annual reviews with frequent, informal check-ins between managers and employees. 2  

2. Provide feedback in context.  
Provide feedback immediately after a ‘performance moment’ – this allows you to make your feedback specific, timely, and relevant.  

3.Ensure it is a two-way dialogue.  
People have their own thoughts and opinions about their performance – their cup is full with their self-feedback.  Allow them to empty that cup before filling it with your feedback.  Make it your practice to ask “How do you think you did?”, then listen, and finally, ask “Would you like some feedback from me?”  This way, they are more likely to listen, value, and act on that feedback.  If they say no, that is your cue to wait until another time.

4. Provide feedback that is specific and objective.  
“Great job” or “I know you can do better” is not good feedback.  Be specific – provide an exact description of the behaviour you observed. Be objective – stick to facts and steer clear of judgmental overtones.  

5. Keep in mind the outcome that you are trying to achieve.  Are you providing feedback to encourage more of the same? Improve performance? Change a behavior?  What specifically did you notice?  Again, be specific so the person receiving it has enough information to make a change, should they choose to do so.  

6. Provide the opportunity for follow up.  
Feedback often triggers reflection on behalf of the recipient.  Make room for this in whatever way you and the recipient of the feedback think is appropriate for the situation – schedule a meeting, informally loop back, or simply keep an open-door policy.

*1 -
*2 -

The Feedback Model  3         

A model introduced to us by Ian Chisholm of The Roy Group that we use ourselves at Berlineaton and with our clients is the Feedback Model, which is fully aligned with the 6 tips above.  As soon after a ‘performance moment’ or at a regularly scheduled time, we use this Feedback Model to debrief and plan for even greater levels of success in the future.
To begin, ask the person receiving the feedback about how they see the situation.  Let them respond before you do.:

What do you think?
What Worked Well?...
What Was Tricky?...
What Would You Do Differently?... 

And then listen.  Really listen.
The next step is to ask if you can provide feedback.  Use the same questions to provide your feedback about what you thought worked well, what you thought was tricky, and what you think should be done differently next time.  You can agree with what they said, but do not feel the need to repeat it.  They won’t need to hear it twice.

Would you like some feedback from me?
What Worked Well?...
What Was Tricky?...
What Would You Do Differently?... 

End the feedback session with a specific action plan that you both (or all if you’re doing this as a team) commit to undertake.

Try using this simple tool in your workplace and with your team.  As renowned psychologist and educator John Dewey noted, “People do not learn from experience…they learn when they reflect on their experience.”  Feedback, when provided effectively, is a great way to reflect on and learn from experience.

3 - Feedback model courtesy of Ian Chisholm at The Roy Group.

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