How to incorporate feedback into your culture

A culture where feedback is regularly, consistently and thoughtfully provided is essential for the success of any team, whether they be working in the office or remotely. Unfortunately, giving constructive feedback at work is challenging and often avoided, and positive feedback is infrequent or ineffective. A practical way to incorporate feedback into your culture is by creating the 3M’s for your team – a Mechanism, a Method, and a Mindset.

Aim

To create a mechanism, method and mindset to get feedback freely flowing in your team as the ‘norm’.

Resources

Method

  1. Start with a general discussion within your team on these three questions: (~5mins)
    1. Why is giving feedback so hard?
    2. Why is receiving feedback so hard?
    3. (if applicable) Why is giving and receiving feedback different when you are remote?
  2. Create the Mechanism – a trigger for feedback to happen. (~40mins)
    1. Break the group into functional teams.
    2. Ask each team to complete the table on the Mechanism template,
      selecting and defining the feedback types that would most benefit their
      work. You do not have to use all kinds, but each group should agree on the methods chosen.
    3. Complete the same table, thinking about the team cross-functionally and
      align on which methods you want to commit to as a team and their
      frequency.
    4. NOTE: Everyone has different needs regarding the amount of feedback they want. This exercise aims to create a ‘middle ground’ where those who need more can access it, and those who don’t ask for feedback enough don’t miss out. It is still about quality over quantity.
  3. Give your team a Method – A simple, practical way to give feedback effectively. (~30mins)
    1. You can use an existing feedback method or adopt this 4-step formula. If using the 4-step formula, have your team watch this video and provide a summary.
      1. Micro-yes
      2. Data point
      3. Impact Statement
      4. Question
    2. Split into pairs and give each team a pre-prepared feedback scenario. Ask them to practice providing feedback to each other using the method.
    3. Bring the group back together and share their reflections on using the method.
  4. Create a Mindset – A shared set of values and behaviours around giving and receiving feedback. (~15mins)
    1. Split the team into small groups of around three people.
    2. Give each team time to create a Value Statement and Feedback Mantras.
      1. “We value feedback because ________. This translates to behaviours such as ________.”
      2. “When giving feedback I will _______.”
      3. “When receiving feedback I will _______.”
    3. Have each group share what they came up with.
  5. Make it stick
    1. Find a central place to publish your 3M’s. We incorporated ours into our Team Communications Guide.
    2. Give each team member a summary of the feedback method from the handouts pack.
    3. Role model the process frequently and recognise efforts to hone feedback skills.
    4. Review the mechanisms and method quarterly.

Outcome

A co-created approach to feedback helps your team deliver and receive feedback effectively and also helps to embed it into your work culture. The 3M’s approach serves to embed opportunities for giving feedback, provide team members confidence in their approach to giving feedback, and a growth mindset in which to give and receive feedback. It will take practice and persistence, but the deliberate approach will dramatically increase the chances of success.