Feed Your Future With Feedback & Feedforward

Next week, I’m talking about Feedback and Feedforward at the Tennessee SHRM Conference. While preparing for this session, I’m reflecting on my own feedback and feedforward skills. Am I following my own advice in giving meaningful feedback and practicing feedforward? If I do receive input from others, am I following up and actually implementing any change? Are you? 

Just this morning, I received (unsolicited) feedback from my husband that I have not been practicing what I preach in work-life balance. I enjoy my work, paid and volunteer, so much that I have found myself with a plate that isn’t just full…it’s spilling over. Now I have my own homework to do to take this feedback to heart and actually examine my schedule and commitments. 

Have you received similar feedback? That is, unsolicited feedback? Let’s talk about the types of feedback: 

UnsolicitedThe Kind You Didn’t Ask For

SolicitedWell, You Asked For It 

ObservationIt’s Not What They Said, It’s How They Said It

How often do you actually solicit feedback? For most of us, that type of feedback is the least common. We typically receive unsolicited feedback and/or observe feedback behaviors. Why? It is a whole lot easier to see our problems in others than it is to see them in ourselves. Even though we may be able to deny our problems to ourselves, they may be very obvious to the people who are observing us. 

We can probably all work on soliciting feedback and actually listening to it. Today, since I already know an area that I need to work on, I’m thinking about the practice of Feedforward. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Pick a behavior you want to change that would make a significant, positive difference in your life
  2. Describe what you want to change with someone (one-on-one)
  3. Ask the person for two suggestions for the future
  4. Listen attentively to the suggestions
  5. Thank them

Feedforward is a smart, effective way to take action and have accountability for the change you’re working on. 

I’ll leave you with this quote from Marshall Goldsmith in his book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There:

“We’re being told all day long how we’re doing. And the reason we accept this feedback and actually attempt to respond to it (e.g., if we’re down in sales, we’ll try harder to bring the figures up) is that we accept the process: An authority figure “grades” us and we are motivated to do better because of it. It’s not like that with interpersonal behavior, which is vague, subjective, unquantifiable, and open to wildly variant interpretations. But that doesn’t make it less important. It’s my contention— and it’s the bedrock thesis of this book— that interpersonal behavior is the difference-maker between being great and near-great, between getting the gold and settling for the bronze.”

Use our free resource – Practice Feedback & Feedforward Worksheet – to check in with yourself and others and set timely goals for improvement and mutual commitment. 

How can you feed your future? 

Attending the TN SHRM Conference? Catch Jillian’s session on September 13 at 3:15pm. Learn more about #TNSHRM22 at horizonpointconsulting.com/whatsup. 


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Jillian Miles Massey