Latest FeedForward News
Oct 25, 2023
[Photo: FG Trade/Getty Images] 4 minute Read If you want to grow, receiving constructive feedback can help. The problem is that few people are good at delivering it effectively. Making matters worse, most of us bristle when we’re on the receiving end, especially if the word “feedback” is used. “We have such strong connotations with the word that immediately our cortisol levels go up and fight-or-flight reactions occur,” says Antonia Bowring, author of Coach Yourself! “Ironically, feedback is an act of love. It means ‘I care enough about you that I want you to do better, be better, achieve more, have more success in the future.’ That’s been lost because we associate it with looking backwards at issues, problems, and failure.” One way to remove the negative connotation of feedback is to reframe it as “feedforward.” “Honestly, it’s semantics, but words matter,” says Bowring. “When someone says ‘feedforward’ to me, cortisol goes down and my ears perk up. It’s them saying, ‘I really want to pass something along to you to help you be more successful.’” How to Deliver ‘Feedforward‘ “Helping people understand how they’re doing and what they need to be successful is a critical part of helping people feel satisfied and valued at work,” says Jennifer Dulski, CEO of Rising Team , a team development platform, and a lecturer in management at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “Feedforward focuses on forward-looking options and solutions rather than looking to the past at things we can’t change. It feels a lot easier for people to react to.” For example, if you manage a sales team and notice that someone isn’t providing adequate customer service, you may give feedback that says, “You didn’t ask them enough questions, or “Don’t rush them so quickly into the demo.” This is backward-looking feedback, says Dulski. If you were to provide them with feedforward guidance, you might say, “Next time, I’d love to see you spend at least 15 minutes asking them questions about their pain points, so when you get to the demo, it can be even more relevant to their needs.” “It’s essentially the same guidance, but one is backward-facing in a way that employees have no control over, and one is forward-looking in a way that they feel empowered to change,” says Dulski. The secret to giving effective and empathetic feedforward is to realize that the goal is to start an open conversation and help the person grow, says Jenny von Podewils, co-CEO of Leapsome, an intelligent people enablement platform. Mix looking back and looking forward. “It involves observing and contextualizing something that happened, sharing how it made you or another team member feel, highlighting its impact, and suggesting a way to improve, avoid, or enhance things in the future for a better outcome,” she says. How This Benefits Employees Since feedforward focuses on specific behaviors or precise actions rather than general principles about the person, it has the potential to be more effective, says Dulski. advertisement “My parents always used to say, ‘Be hard on the behaviors and soft on the person,’” she says. “Feedforward helps with that. Saying, ‘You’re always late to meetings” is feedback, looking backward, versus ‘Next time, I’d love it if you could try being five minutes early so we can start on time.’ That’s a specific behavioral request rather than a judgment on a person.” Delivering feedforward also empowers employees, especially when tied to their goals. “To make feedforward effective, you can frame it as a part of people’s growth,” she says. “You can say things like, ‘Here are some things that will help to drive your success,’ or, ‘Here are some things that are holding you back from being successful, and here’s how we can change these things moving forward.’” Feedforward may also be easier to implement, says Bowring. “Adults don’t learn as well being told something,” she says. “Adults learn better through experience and discovery. Positioning it as forward with a conversation about how to do something differently or an improved way in the future is much closer to the power of adult learning.” Why It’s Good for Companies, Too Since feedforward is easier to receive, it’s often easier to deliver, which also benefits managers. “Sometimes, the guidance we have to give people can be difficult,” says Dulski. “Feedforward helps in feeling less critical and more empowering, while still delivering the same important guidance.” A robust culture of feedforward can also benefit organizations by creating an open communication channel, says von Podewils. “Receiving regular, actionable feedback is crucial for employees’ growth and development,” she says. “But it doesn’t just benefit the employee. Delivered in the right way, it can positively impact your company through improved performance, increased employee engagement, and greater levels of trust.” There is one caveat, though. While changing “feedback” to “feedforward” may help initially, it may not be a silver bullet for motivating employees, cautions von Podewils. She encourages business and HR leaders to look under the hood and examine why feedback is a problem in their company in the first place. “I’d argue that the anxiety is not coming from the word; it’s coming from the culture,” she says. Work Smarter, not harder. Get our editors' tips and stories delivered weekly.
FeedForward Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was FeedForward founded?
FeedForward was founded in 2017.
Where is FeedForward's headquarters?
FeedForward's headquarters is located at 5 Maygood House, London.
What is FeedForward's latest funding round?
FeedForward's latest funding round is Angel.
Who are the investors of FeedForward?
Investors of FeedForward include Angel Academe and Cambridge Angels.
Who are FeedForward's competitors?
Competitors of FeedForward include Cynanite.
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