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Feedback process and the timing

Posted by Ravi Banda on September 2, 2010


As part of our daily work life – there are many instances where we give compliments / coaching tips to our teams and similarly we receive the same. I see that the “timing” of the feedback plays a key role in the quality of the feedback and the impact it has on the recipient.

In Physics – there is Inverse Square Law which says that the physical quantity or strength is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source. Similarly, I propose an Inverse Feedback Law which says that the quality of feedback is inversely proportional to the time delay in giving the feedback. In simpler words, the longer we delay in giving the feedback, the smaller the impact on the recipient. Yes – that’s the outcome of my engineering brain mixing up with my managerial role :-)

Looking at the role of a Manager, it’s important for him/her to continuously monitor the performance of their team members. For tasks done individually, it will be good for the Manager to quickly review it with the team member and compliment on the work done. If there is a scope for the task to have been done in a better way, the Manager should share it immediately with the team member. If the task has been done through collaboration, the Manager should collect feedback from the involved team members and share it with their team member. If there are tasks done by the Manager – they also should be open to get feedback from their team. Now you can see where this is heading – the feedback process should be a continuous activity – not something that’s done every 6 months or one year. The employee and manager shouldn’t have to go back into memory and think about all the work being done and similarly the 360 feedback reviewers don’t have to go through the same exercise.

As long as the Employee’s work is being tracked through their Goals, we should be able to collect the feedback instantly – I call this “Real time feedback” and Justin also talks about this in his post on performance reviews. Going into the depths of the feedback process – some individuals are very diligent. They give feedback / collect feedback promptly but some people put it off due to work pressure / time constraints. I see that this is where the Goal Management system should step-in and help Employees / Managers to collect feedback. Let’s say that a Goal has been completed and the system should trigger off notifications to people asking for feedback and make it available for review. We also can show the Activities that the individual engaged or contributed to so that we can get a more qualitative feedback. This way – we are having the continuous feedback activity and by the performance review time – most of the grunt work is already done !!

Welcome your comments.

3 Responses to “Feedback process and the timing”

  1. Meg Bear said

    As I do, I’ve been observing my own behavior on this and I’m starting to feel that Performance Measurement and Performance Feedback are two different things. Measurement is really about results — did you get your job done. Feedback is really about you — is there something holding *you* back or is there something that you *should be doing* to take you to where you need/want to go.

    I think that measurement is sufficient to be milestone based but I agree completely that feedback really needs to be event based. Feedback works best if you have examples and that is why timliness is so critical.

    I would love to see a shift in management training to focus on the importance of feedback in leading people. It’s so important, and it really requires practice to master.

  2. Ravi Banda said

    Meg – thanks for the comments and clarifying the difference between Performance Measurement and Performance Feedback.

  3. [...] Posted by Meg Bear on September 15, 2010 Those who work with me know that I give a LOT of feedback. [...]

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