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Providing feedback about performance is one of the most hated events in all work cultures.

Recipients feel uncomfortable for several reasons.
  • They expect the worse
  • They reject or are unable to accept critiquing
  • The event has proven to be perfunctory
  • They see no connection between feedback and perception of their value

Providers feel equally as uncomfortable

  • They fear the response
  • They question their evaluation
  • They are not engaged in the evaluation and feedback process
  • They have not experienced the value feedback and follow-up provide

The absence of meaningful and useful feedback in an organization has nothing to do with the process or format used for feedback.

Meaningful feedback is a function of understanding where feedback is important, when it is important, what is expected from feedback and how feedback affects behavior.

A quick summary is helpful in framing critical aspects of meaningful feedback -

To be most effective, feedback occurs during work processes. Outcomes of work processes are affected by well placed feedback -

  • Feedback after completion of a work process is meaningful when -
    • What is communicated in the feedback is actionable
    • What is communicated is reportable
    • What is communicated is part of the recipient's responsibility
  • Affects of feedback can be traced to the accountable aspects of the recipient's job (work processes) and
  • Affects of feedback can be traced to company strategy and goals

Creating more meaningful feedback requires discipline on the part of the provider and the recipient of feedback.

The provider is helped when he or she masters the following competencies:

  1. Clear understanding of the accountability and responsibility they have for their own work processes and for the work processes of the recipient
  2. Clear understanding they have of the business strategy, goals and objectives of the organization and appropriate team
  3. Full understanding of the role of the provider and the recipient in the feedback process
  4. Clear and articulate understanding of the goals and objectives for the work processes for which the recipient is accountable
  5. Ability to clearly articulate the outcome of the recipient's behavior on the stated goals and objectives for the work processes
  6. Full understanding and empathy with the value that the recipient brings to bear on the work processes
  7. Clear understanding and demonstration of the servant/mentor role the provider has relative to the recipient

The recipient feedback is helped when he or she masters the following competencies:

  1. Clearly understands accountable and responsible work processes
  2. Understands the goals and objectives of the company and the team
  3. Improves mastery of work processes
  4. Understands and responds to guidance
  5. Understands the role of the provider and the recipient in providing and receiving feedback
  6. Has a working knowledge of listening and processing skills
  7. Clearly understands the value of the mentoring and personal development process

The primary purpose of performance management is facilitated entirely in the feedback process.

Feedback is as critical to create high performance teams as it is critical to improving work processes and exceeding business goals and objectives.

The smart organization provides training on providing and receiving feedback in new member orientation, initial organization development training, professional development training, periodic business unit training and periodic management training.

Overemphasizing mastery in feedback competencies is not the gold standard - it is a normal expectation in smart companies.


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