Feedforward – a positive alternative to feedback


Sometimes we have to do it, but feedback is tough… even when intentions are good (and we know that they’re not always).

Feedback often triggers “F Responses” (fight, flight or freeze) as we fear judgement, criticism and useless opinions. It can push people away.

Feedback also assumes that we are right about what we’re giving our opinion on. That can be incredibly presumptuous since we rarely know all that went into the decision-making and actions of the person we’re “educating”.

As Marshal Goldsmith talks about in his video, Feedforward is much easier to take, more motivating and helpful.

Ideas to help us succeed in the future are so much more empowering and useful.

Feedforward also tends to get to the point – the goal – much faster.

Next time you want to give feedback to someone, ask yourself, “Am I doing this to help the other person succeed, or for my own needs?”

If this is to help them succeed, then maybe feedforward ideas on how to be more succesful in the future might be a lot more helpful than feedback.

If it’s for your own needs – find another way that doesn’t push people away from you.

Explore posts in the same categories: Influence, Motivation, Solution-focus

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7 Comments on “Feedforward – a positive alternative to feedback”

  1. Peter Says:

    As a receiver of feedback, I always appreciate others’ suggestions on what I should continue, and specific suggestions (feedforward)on HOW I can improve on behaviors that others don’t appreciate.

    However, it’s just as important to me to get the backward-looking perspective (feedback) – particularly to understand the impact (cost and/or benefit) of my behavior. This helps me assess the state of my relationships, helps me understand the relative importance of what I should be working on, helps me set my development priorities, helps me understand where damage control is needed, and helps my self-awareness. It’s sometimes uncomfortable to hear what others have to say, but I’d rather hear it than not. It drives my learning.

    Done well, feedback conversations should include both the “back” and the “forward.”

  2. Vlad Says:

    One thing I found that worked was giving tangible steps the person being evaluated could take in order to improve their performance. Assuming that they want to grow and develop (and most people do) the “takeaway” is great. (In my humble opinion)


  3. […] Giving yourself feedforward rather than scathing feedback when you can […]


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