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Feedback to motivate behaviors

Feedback experimentIn listening to The Public Speaker's (Lisa B Marshall) latest podcast on The Importance of Feedback, I was struck by her giving some specific advice that runs counter to some advice I heard a couple months ago on ManagerTools, Praise in Public, Criticize in Private Is WRONG.  You can imagine what Lisa's advice was. 

But the fun thing is that beyond that particular aspect, they both agree that the purpose of feedback is to motivate behavior: either reinforcing a positive behavior, or redirecting a negative behavior.  Feedback is not about punishing or praising people.  It's not about the person getting the feedback, nor is it about the person giving the feedback.  It is about the behavior.

The basic model that both podcasts suggest goes something like this:

Giver: Hey, can I give you some feedback?
Receiver: Um, Yes.

Giver: I observed <behavior>.  When you do that, it creates <this effect>.

Giver: [optionally] If this is negative feedback, suggest a correction.  If it's positive feedback, encourage a repeat performance.

Another area of agreement between Lisa B Marshall and the ManagerTools guys is that feedback should be given frequently AND that it should just take a few minutes.  It's not a major event, like end-of-year performance evaluations.  It's minor course corrections that should be happening all the time.

[Photo: "Feedback experiment" by Sune Petersen]

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