Friday, May 25, 2007

Myths About External Feedback Part 3

Myths about Feedback Parts 1 and 2 covered how external feedback often created the opposite result of what was desired. In this post, we begin with a quick review of what interactive feedback is, why it is used, and what the result is, and then discuss how DuPont and Colgate-Palmolive have focused on an alternative.


Members of a team or organization listening to feedback from peers, superiors, and/or subordinates concerning how to become better workers, (i.e. Giving advice and making judgments.)

Interactive feedback processes are practiced to increase understanding of our impact on others & to improve the effectiveness of our working together.

Feedback processes have been found to systematically undermine these qualities and produce non-productive side effects.

DuPont and Colgate-Palmolive have found that the practice of interactive feedback is based on three myths:

* Feedback improves team effectiveness,

* A shared set of leadership behaviors can improve organizational performance, and

* Feedback causes people to see themselves more accurately.

They have instead concentrated on creating initiatives that help people build their capability for self-reflection and self-assessment.

Therefore, Dupont and Colgate-Palmolive

• Engage in a business development process that builds capacity for self-reflection and self-assessment,
• One that draws on an innate but undeveloped ability to observe ourselves and our impact on our environment,
• As well as our ability to act in accordance with aims we have set for ourselves, and
• The focus is on increasing each persons capacity to be self-reflective:

- Gauging their own behavior in the context of business needs and personal essence,
- Removing work systems and process that foster dependency on external sources of correction and judgment, and
- Proposing development plans that specifies a unique contribution each member will make to the organization.

The citations for this three part post are:

• "The Myths of Organizational Effectiveness by Carol Sanford" for the Journal AT WORK, Sept/Oct 1995, page 10-12.

• More detailed treatment of "Feedback Process in Organization" is available for $ 5.00 (US) from SpringHill Publications, P.O. Box 2283, Battle Ground, WA 98604-7514.

Another book that you might like to review is:

• "Performance Management: Improving Quality and Productivity Through Positive Reinforcement" by Aubrey Daniels & Theodore Rosen, published by Performance Management Publication Inc. 1982.

When you consider how hard it is to change yourself, then you will understand how difficult it is to change someone else.

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