Key Point: As promised here is my third and final blog regarding that glass of wine with the renowned Marshall Goldsmith. Feedback has merit when done well. Its limitation is that it is focused on the past and as we all know, nothing can be done about our past actions. Goldsmith encourages the clients he coaches (all big wig CEOs) to implement a concept called “feed forward.” This approach focuses on getting guidance on behavior and what the people you care about would like to see you do: More of? Less of? Start doing? Stop doing? If you want a simple process to try this, read on.
Let’s say your goal is to be a better leader. Identify a core group of people who care enough about you to be thoughtful, frank and really want to help you improve. Ideally this group would include a combination of peers, direct reports, and your boss. Ask each of those people for just ONE day to day leadership behavior they would suggest you adopt. Ideally, working on this would be actionable and specific. An example could be, “be more present and attentive when we have our one-on-one meetings.”
Collect the data from each person and say “thank you” for their suggestion. Do not judge the ideas given to you. Regardless of how helpful or not you think the comment is… Just say “thank you.”
When you get all the data, pick just ONE key thing you are honestly willing to commit to and execute on it.
Then get a progress report on how well you’re doing. Go back to the people you asked for “feed forward” help and check to see if they see behavior change in you. “Hey, remember when you suggested I be more present at one-on-ones? How am I doing? See any improvements?” If you have, keep building more “feed forward” goals. If not, you have work to do…
- Try a “feed forward” process ASAP. It works in the office AND at home. For example, “tell me one thing I could do to be a better Dad? Son? Daughter? Partner?”
- Remember to say, “thank you.” No passing judgment.
- Pick one thing, commit to the behavior until it becomes a good habit, and get a report card on that specific thing.
- Do it over and over… Evolve!
“Feed Forward” in The Triangle,