May 23, 2011

I recently introduced The Sunshine Foundation to Dr. Marshall Goldsmith’s Feedforward scale. This tool helps any person or organization get from where they are to where they want to be.  For The Sunshine Foundation their bold goal is to give ‘A dream a day’ to kids with severe physical challenges and life threatening illnesses.

The Feedfoward scale works like this: after every interaction, project or event, a point person asks “On a scale of one to five, how did I (or we) do? What could we do better next time?” At first people will give very general responses. Sooner or later, and I hope it is sooner, they will say something insightful, surprising or even a bit ‘hot’.  To ensure your Feedforward fosters growth instead of groans here are three tips.

1. Resist the temptation to defend. Instead, make sure you fully understand the speaker’s perspective. Mr. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Author Stephen Covey calls this principle “Seek first to understand.”

2. Reflect: People want to feel heard so paraphrase their comment. I use relationship guru Harville Hendrix’s three questions. “So what you are saying is….Have I got that right?… Is there more?”

3. Appreciate: People yearn to be valued. You can say, “Thank you, that’s helpful” or “Thank you, I appreciate your commitment. Or, “Thank you, I value your honesty.”  The ‘thank you,’ just like your mom taught you, is mandatory.The words that follow are all yours.

Remember, your role is to listen without defence. You can dialogue about how to make improvements for next time. Just don’t re-hash the past. Feedback doesn’t help because we can’t change the past.  Focus on Feedforward because it fosters continuous improvement, which is what great organizations and brave people do consistently.

PS – You can also use Feedforward with your honey. Each Sunday you can ask your sweet pea, “On a scale of 1 to 5 how was I as a wife/partner/ goddess  (choose your own title 😉 ) this week? What could I do better next time?”


Are you or your business reaching the fullest potential?

If it is not your genius it is not your job.
Louise B. Karch