For most organization, it is time for the annual assessment, calibration, and feedback process, which always brings up the question of whether staff, teams, and the organization gets any value from the extreme effort involved. If you agree, it may be a time to make a new commitment to a culture of valuable feedback for 2017. Even if you are stuck with the organization process, you can strike out and do something different with your team.

Giving feedback is probably one of the most “trained” skills in management. But, how many teams or organizations establish a culture of feedback that focuses on the receiver getting valuable information? Imagine if when you offered feedback the person receiving instantly moved into a mode of positive (not defensive) inquiry, asking:

  • What do you mean by “X assessment?”
  • What did you see me do or hear me say?
  • How do you want or could you see me changing my behavior or approach?
  • How is my current behavior impacting performance, people, or my reputation?

As a leader,you might say that this sounds dreamy, because you now have someone “owning” the work to make sure he of she gets value from your feedback. But, it also means that you will be prompted and maybe challenged to think through the real facts and data that support your assessment. If in the spirit of improving performance, rather than judgment of a human being, people can engage in meaningful discussion. But, imbedding a culture of valuable feedback takes breaking the historical context for feedback.

This type of performance culture is one I helped lead in a prior HR executive life. As one of my colleagues used to remind us, it’s constant work to keep sending the message that we expect you to “peel-the-onion” on any feedback delivered. A cultural shift also requires a commitment from leadership to “model” the behaviors so that over time staff experience not only the expectation, but the extreme value of having real information on their performance.

How would this practice within your team or your organist ion make a positive difference to your results?