Saturday, August 29, 2015

How to Learn from Feedback and Move toward the Future

The value of feedback is to effectively connect our past learning to our future operation.

As Einstein wisely said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results." We can live in a split second, or we can extend our present to include the instance of our previous experience and also the opportunity of our future action. This is a different perspective on feedback because we effectively connect our past learning to our future operation.

We need not forget our past, but we should learn from it and move forward. In this sense, feedback is relevant. Feedback needs to be continuous, as close to real time as possible, in control of the recipient and in a way the recipient can understand. Real time feedback performance systems are functioning well when in control of the person doing the job and treat people with respect. So feedback is aimed to move forward. Eventually, feedback should always be genuinely precise, proper and substantive. Such feedback helps not only to act but aids to feedforward, as well. However, what is here called feedforward is actually a particular way of presenting what is technically feedback. Indeed, the idea that feedback is about the past is where the logical error creeps in. Feedback is always about how to improve performance so is always about the future. KPI dashboards such as the balanced scorecard were developed to try to encourage businesses to review a set of measures that could predict business performance, and there is no doubt that feedback (or 'feedforward') would be more effective if individual performances were measured in a similar way.

Leadership is the system “with zoomed in vision and wrapped in a culture of openness and emergence.” It expects everyone to display leadership and hands-on responsibility for learning to be the learner. In this case feedback - information gained from experience that can improve future performance - is welcomed. Leadership as a system" is 'wrapped in a culture of openness and emergence,' so that 'learning' and the application of new learning bring 'newness' which creates a cycle of continuous feedback, exploration, experience and a more natural process of improvement. Feedback is not limited and static as opposed to expansive and dynamic. If you want your team to create a great future, they need to be responsive to feedback. Feedback is information that enables you to improve. It is essential that you get this information. Feedback does not focus on the past - it tells you what is happening so that you can adapt.
-Feedback is a solution to the problem of cluelessness. We don't know our impact on others until they tell us.
-Feedback is always about the giver.
-Feedback is a gift.

Giving and receiving feedback is essential to improving performance and helping people mature. When we light up our brains with positivity, we are able to increase our communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. Evaluating the past can certainly lead us to a good insight towards the future. Therefore, feedforward cannot be seen in isolation. The feedback forms have to be creative as to focus on both the past performance and future goals or changes to achieve the required goals. In most organizations, leaders are extremely calculated in terms of feedforward strategy because of its unpredictability. What has passed can easily be evaluated but what will and should happen in the future. Multiple ideas need to be taken, and a cohesive plan needs to be built.  It allows the individual to take some personal ownership for what is about to occur. They decide the approach, once you have (together) identified the goal. Of course, that requires a degree of personal maturity. Immature people will not comprehend and hence need the simpler idea of applying feedback from past experience to future action. So the issue of giving and receiving feedback is of huge importance and significance in helping people to mature.

Feedback and feedforward are important for business’s success for the long term. If we no longer reference the past, then we are likely to repeat mistakes of the past. If we consider mistakes in the past as being in a different time or context, then we are not certain to obtain the same outcomes even though it is seemingly we are repeating the same mistakes. Rather, we are learning from the past, and developing towards a new future. In a way, we are destined to look forward, and in doing so, seeing both the past and the future in front of us. Somehow the past is not being seen as the past, but blends into the draw of the future. Rightly we focus on the future, but the past is never far away just hidden from sight.


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