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Feedback – Low Cost, High Performance Impact

In today’s business environment, can an organization, team or individual continue to raise their level of performance without regular feedback? Of course not, you answer. But where is it on the priority list? Usually it falls in the “important” but not “urgent” category. Unfortunately, not giving performance feedback is almost a sure bet that the same problems in execution, collaboration, communication and/or behavior will occur again and again.

High Impact, Low Cost Development
Having given over 1,000 one-on-one feedback sessions since 1996, I guarantee that when done well and regularly, giving feedback is the highest impacting and least expensive solution for continuously developing your people and raising the performance level within every position in your organization. Regular feedback sessions not only raise the level of performance, but also give you hard-wired visibility into situations, opportunities and events.

Five Keys To Increasing Performance Through Feedback

1. Feedback is a process not an event – People need to know that getting constructive performance-related feedback is not an event when things go wrong, but rather a continuous process aimed at supporting their increased performance and value.  As a rule I like every 4-8 weeks with solid employees and weekly for people who are struggling.

2. Provide examples and data with your feedback – Give specific examples of where is not performing to your expectations and you should provide a clear description of the desired performance and/or behavior.  Providing clear direction and being a supportive leader is a good way to lower anxiety and build trust and increased performance.  If you want to combine performance-related data to your feedback sessions, a 360 assessment is a good tool.

3. Personalize the feedback – While employees Joe and Jane may have the same developmental issues, you want to give each of them feedback that plays to them as individuals. People have different behavioral styles and driving motivations. As coaches we use web-based profiles to understand the behavioral and motivating values of each individual. These tools allow you to tailor the feedback, increasing likelihood that your employee will be both receptive and motivated to act.

4. Be supportive and recognize positive change – Once you have given someone feedback, make sure you recognize their efforts and improvements, however small they may be. Reinforcing good performance and behavior is the best way to build developmental momentum with people.

5. Hold people accountable – A sure way to develop a low performance culture is to allow sub-standard performance to continue over time. As a leader you will lose credibility with your best people if you tolerate poor performance. If you have people that have been sub-par performers for 8-12 months, it’s gone on far too long. By now you have either not communicated clearly or you have someone that is mismatched for the role they are in. In either case something needs to change.

So, feedback is actually both important and urgent. The urgency is what most people overlook.  We encourage you to take advantage of this high impact, low-cost investment in your people.

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