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Sep
25 2013

Feedback That Keeps Things Moving Forward

Syndicated from: Fulcrum Associates | Micro Leadership Macro Results

We are all familiar with the “sandwich” approach to giving an employee feedback: say something positive, slip in the negative (ahem, “constructive”) message and then wrap up with another positive. This way the recipient will leave the interaction feeling good and will take the negative piece away too. Nonsense! People see through this management trick. They don’t even hear the final accolade because they are still processing the corrective “meat” of the sandwich. In fact, any critique hits the person as a downer at best and an attack at worst (“Next stop, ladies and gentlemen, the fight or flight response.”). So, how do we deliver the necessary message that a piece of work or a certain behavior is insufficient? Well the famed animation company Pixar found a way. They call their process “plussing.” Any criticism must build on a positive element and be accompanied with a “plus,” a new idea or suggestion to strengthen the work/idea/approach. Here’s what it might sound like, say, in a retail environment: “I like that you went up to the customer with an intent to help and what if you had asked them what they were looking for rather than suggesting something right away?” This keeps things positive. It gives the person something to build on to improve her performance. It promotes continuous improvement. And it sends the message to the individual that your intention is to work with her towards this goal, not correct their “mistake” or “inadequate work.” Hey, if this works with the animation creations of sensitive artistic egos at Pixar, surely it will work discussing with someone on the warehouse dock how best to load a van.   © 2013, Ian Cook. All rights reserved.

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