Feedback to Feedforward

When was the last time you received a feedback? Was it “All izz well” or “All in Well”? If it is the latter, than you are definitely not happy with the feedback you received. Don’t worry you are not alone. Remember numerous articles on the performance of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar whenever he missed scoring his 100th century and later on when he finally hit that elusive century. No one is spared – Movie Makers, Artists, Sportsmen, Musicians etc, almost everyone with high visibility are covered and crucified/appreciated for their work / actions. Whether you like it or not feedback is given by almost everyone, your boss, your colleague, your sub-ordinate, ticket collector, your best friend, your best critic, your enemy, your pet, your kid, your neighbor and nevertheless your spouse.

Feedback can be motivating, sometimes de-motivating and sometimes it just does not affect you (depending upon how you take it). Feedback can be received in various forms and from various sources. Broadly feedback can be of two types: Positive Feedback and Negative Feedback. It is encouraging to receive positive feedback or compliments. Though some compliments are motivating; some of them can make us complacent too. It is very important to judge true compliments and false compliments. False compliments are unhelpful and will result in misleading you. Guard against the same!! Negative feedback is tough to deal with. It is easy to get hurt by people with criticism and thus damaging your self-esteem.

So now let us see how you can translate Feedback to Feedforward and make it work for you. The model given below helps in categorizing the feedback you receive in to those which you want to sustain and those which needs to be acted on. You need to critically evaluate the feedback received. Honestly ask yourself if you really deserve the compliment? What went wrong for which you received the criticism? If an advice given to you was relevant? Which success or failure was in fact due to luck?

accept by people

The Red Boxes are those for which you need to act on and prepare a plan of action. Working on the Red Boxes will help you in achieving a positive change in the areas you want to improve. The Blue Boxes are the ones with high acceptance from the people and can be sustained (only if you are happy with them in their current state).

Arrange the feedback you received in the above matrix. What advice do you want to follow? Which criticisms prompt you to take action? Which suggestions you can ignore? Which are the true compliments which can be accepted?

While categorizing the negative feedback those which need action can be listed in CRITICISM box and those which can be ignored can be listed in SUGGESTION. Positive feedback’s are relatively easy but beware of those false compliments. False compliments should be critically evaluated and can be listed in ADVICE whereas rest can remain in COMPLIMENT. You should critically evaluate feedback since this step leads you to prepare an effective action plan. Your judgment of the feedback is very important because no matter what others speak, you are the best judge for yourself!

The model helps in categorizing the feedback you receive and will help you in identifying the areas/behaviors for improvement. Identifying and acting upon areas of improvement will help you focus on the future which in turn will result in better acceptance from the people around you. Dealing with feedback and converting feedback to feed forward through appropriate changes in your action/ behavior is an art. And like any other art, this can also be mastered through practice, practice and practice alone.

Pay attention to your thoughts, because they become words.
Pay attention to your words, because they become actions.
Pay attention to your actions, because they become habits.
Pay attention to your habits, because they become your character.
Pay attention to your character, because it is your fate.

- From the Talmud

Pradeep M
HR Department

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