Feedforward – Going beyond feedback

Feedforward - Beyond Feedback an essential leadership skillI am a big fan of building a culture of feedback in organisations and I am certain that good quality feedback is essential to raising the performance for anybody in any organisation.

The problem with feedback though is that it looks, typically to poor or average performance in the past in order to correct the present or possibly improve performance in the future.

In addition to feedback, I think the Feedforward concept, a term coined by well known leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith, also helps people improve their performance.

Why Feedforward is effective:

There are many many reasons why feedforward is effective. Here are the six that I think are the most important:

  1. It is future orientated – If I ask for ideas to improve a competency in the future this gives me a positive guide to change
  2. It is positive – Asking at how to be even better at something creates a different mindset than that of dealing with negative feedback.
  3. Anyone can play – You can ask anyone that you know for ideas around Feedforward, where as feedback typically comes from a close peer or line manager
  4. You can play at anytime – Typically you react to feedback given to you when the person giving the feedback chooses to give it. With feedforward you can start right now.
  5. It is not taken personally – Feedforward is about asking for ideas to improve and as such it does not impact in the negative way that sometimes feedback is taken
  6. It is quick and efficient – getting ideas on how to improve a skills or ability takes a few minutes only and in a day you could reach out to several people. This would be far harder to do with feedback.

How to get Feedforward

Here is a simple process for getting feedforward:

  • Pick a behaviour or competence that you would like to improve that would make a positive impact on your performance or life.
  • Choose a handful of people to discuss this area with.
  • Reach out and ask for 5 minutes of quality one on one time with these people
  • Tell them that you want to be better at the behaviour or competence i.e. “I want to be a better presenter / time manager / listener etc , can you give me ideas that would help me”.
  • Listen and only listen to the ideas.
  • Thank the person and make some notes of what was said.
  • When you have gone around all five people, reflect on the notes and ideas provided.
  • Choose some to put into action.

Feedforward: Leadership reflections

As usual here are some questions to get you to put these ideas into action:

  • What are three areas that you wish to get feedforward around?
  • For each of those, who are five people that you respect that could give you valuable insights?
  • By when could you have got all of their feedforward ideas?
  • What is stopping you doing this and what can you do to remove these obstacles?

Thanks once again for reading!

I am really keen to know how this went for you!

I am also keen to get Feedforward also, so here is my question to you: How can I make my bloging more valuable to you?


[Image Credit: Sxc.hu  Author Gerd Marstedt]

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