Feedback has been considered as an essential skill – from manager to reportee (downward feedback) or from reportee to manager (upward feedback). However, the challenge with feedback is that it is static and in the past; not on the ‘infinite variety of opportunities that can happen in the future’.
If we flip the focus from the past to the future, we can make a huge difference in how the team can grow as professionals.
This concept, Feedforward, was originally development by Marshall Goldsmith, a management expert and author of bestseller ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get you There’, among others. (https://www.marshallgoldsmith.com)
In an exercise on feedforward, Goldsmith says that the participants found it fun and helpful as opposed to feedback which would be painful, embarrassing or uncomfortable.
- We can change the future; we cannot change the past
- It is more productive to help people learn to be “right”, rather than prove they were “wrong”
- People do not take feedforward as personally as feedback
- Feedback is normally associated with judgement; feedforward does not imply superiority of judgement
Goldsmith says that his intent is not ‘to imply that leaders should never give feedback’, but to show how ‘feedforward’ can be efficient, effective and enjoyable.
And the result is a dynamic, open organization.