Monday, May 29, 2017

How to deliver effective feedback?

I recently gave a talk on ways to effectively give and receive feedback at "Path To Agility" conference. This topic is so very important to me so thought of writing a blog on the same topic as well.

I divided my presentation in 5 parts. 

1) History and Importance of Feedback
2) Looking at Feedback using System Lens
3) Interconnection between elements of Feedback
4) Models for Giving Feedback
5) Models for Receiving Feedback. 

My goal for this blog is to share all the learning so we all can live in a state where we can constantly grow and be more effective with the feedback without getting scared. Let’s beginning.

"We can't solve the problems by using same kind of thinking we used to create them. - Albert Einstein". 

History and Importance of Feedback

I was wondering why we call it a Feedback vs. “Talking to each other” or “Get ready for humiliation”.  I found out the term feedback was coined in 1860s during industrial revolution to describe the way that outputs energy, momentum or signals are returned to their point of origin in a mechanical system.

In 1909 Karl Braum was using the phrase, feedback, to describe the coupling and loops between components of an electronic circuit. It’s only after world war 2 the terms begin to be used in industrial relationship when talking about people and performance management. Feed corrective information back to the point of origin, that would be you! The employee.

Did I mention the term performance management!!! I would like to share some numbers around it. Estimate suggests that 50 to 90% of the employee will receive their performance feedback this year. And across globe 825 million work hours (a cumulative of 94,000 years) are spent each year preparing for and engaging in annual reviews.  Oh Boy!!!! To successfully utilize these hours we really need to be good in giving and receiving feedback.

Feedback can be important for various reasons like “Identify areas of improvement”, “Motivate behavioral changes”,  “Help when you are  stuck”, “For  recognition” or “Tool for continuous learning”.  We all pretty much aware of it’s goodness.  But still to few of us the receving critical feedback sometimes feels like colonoscopy.  It is because receiving Feedback sits at the cruxs of two very human needs:

-       The need to learn and grow (which is so very hard wired in us).
-       The need to be accepted, respected and loved just the way you are now. 

The fact of feedback is making sure that how you are right now! is not A OKAY and tells us that there is something to change. Critical feedback will still going to hurt us but if we will remember few tips, we will be able to handle and engage in conversations more skillfully to attain maximum benefit . 

We will try to look at the Feedback word using System lens in next blog. 



  1. Many thx Manisha for another great post. I never questioned the heritage of the term "feedback" and I just love those little history lessons :-)

    re performance review - see if you can get rid of it! seriously:

    Greets from sunny Berlin.

    1. Thank you Mike. I wish the same and hopefully one day organizations would understand it as well.