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Successful Feedback Always Includes A Suggestion For Change

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Unless you are blowing someone off or hoping they will resign, your feedback has to lay out clearly what you want to see in place of the problem behavior. It’s not enough to say:

  1. You aren’t explaining the charges we make for upgrades to customers

  2. The fix you made to the server went out without being tested

  3. Three of our patients complained that they were ignored by our front desk

The information isn’t enough You may assume that your honest observations are enough and that the other person automatically knows how to improve the way they do their job.

But this is a big mistake. Two different people almost never draw the same conclusions when they are given information alone.

Biggest barrier to improving: People don’t know how For one thing, your employee or co-worker may not understand how their work affects other people or processes. Even if they now see that what they did is a mistake, they may have no clue about how to do it more effectively.  In fact, research points out that the #1 reason for people not improving how they work is that they don’t know what to do instead.

Request the change and explain it For example, for the doctor’s office staff member, here’s how to make sure the employee understands how to improve:

I suggest giving more attention to each patient as they first check-in. That would include greeting them, using their name after you see it on paper, mentioning their doctor’s name in the conversation, and keeping your eye on the window so you can see anyone who wants to ask a question. Also maintain a lot of eye contact. What other ideas do you have?

As you discuss your suggestions and their ideas further, you may need to demonstrate or elaborate on what you are suggesting.

Finally, check for their understanding Then, make sure to ask them to explain, in their own words, how they can implement the improvement steps. This last step may seem tedious or time-consuming, but you will easily see the value in it when you realize you will need to tweak or explain your suggestion in greater detail.

Bottom line is that great feedback always helps people know what to do to improve!

The Feedback Imperative book

Learn More

Read The Feedback Imperative for more information on how to give great feedback!

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