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The Feedback Funnel: How Constant Feedback Builds A Stronger Culture by@leifthunder

The Feedback Funnel: How Constant Feedback Builds A Stronger Culture

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Leif Abraham

Co-Founder AND CO

One of the core principles in AND CO’s employee handbook is: honesty kills bullshit. It means that if we’re always honest and transparent to each other we can eradicate rumors, gossip, distrust and politics and focus on the goals.

It’s simple — when people know where they stand at all times they have the freedom to focus on the things that matter. A huge part of that is constant feedback, which this piece is about.

Sounds great? Yeah. 
Does this mean it’s always happening? No.

Culture is not created by writing down a bunch of fluffy principles, handing them out to new employees and hoping they’re learned and applied. Culture is created by how we act. So if we want everyone to act a certain way, to create a certain culture, we have to keep hammering those principles into everyone’s head. All the time. By everyone. Into each other.

Humans learn through repetition, you need to repeat your cultural principles until your mouth is numb. It takes many tries and classes to learn anything, so don’t expect it‘ll be different when learning a company culture.

The issue is that in work-life we don’t have the luxury of “culture classes”, you mostly learn on the job. So the best way to do this is good old constant feedback.

Feedback is not criticism

Often feedback and criticism are confused or merged into the same thing. You have to make sure your team and co-workers understand the difference.

Let’s look at the official definition of ‘feedback’:

information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement.

And the definition of ‘criticism’:

the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.

Good feedback comes from a good place. It doesn’t come from a place of criticism but from a place of care. It’s suggestions of improvement, which means you have to have something to suggest in the first place in order to be able to give good feedback. Just saying something sucks is not feedback, it’s criticism.

As soon as everyone understands the difference and realizes that feedback is not criticism, they can embrace feedback freely and that’s when the magic happens.

Give feedback on the good stuff

The goal of feedback is improvement. With that in mind, it’s not just applied when something could be done better, but also when something was done well and should be repeated in the future.

When something was great, stop for a second and analyze why it was great and point it out. Then make sure people in the organization see what happened and why it was great to spark repetition of the behavior in the future. It might even be valuable enough to define a new cultural principle for the company or turn the behavior into a repeatable process or template.

The Feedback Funnel™

First off I have to confess that I didn’t actually trademark this.

When you get the entire organization to adapt a culture of constant feedback based on the cultural principles defined, the company culture will continuously stay strong. Even as many new employees join the company, people automatically adapt the culture from the constant feedback they witness. The constant bounce between the feedback to improve stuff and the feedback to repeat stuff ultimately teaches and constantly reinforces the culture.

The scientific graph of the Feedback Funnel™

The three pillars of good feedback

Good feedback is timely
I think it’s important to give feedback immediately. The more it’s contextual the easier it is to analyze and understand.

Good feedback doesn’t think it knows better
An important part of good feedback is not to assume you know it better. Keeping a constant mindset of humbleness will make you give better feedback. Like any scientist will tell you: good ideas will ultimately be refuted by newer, better ideas.

Good feedback is given by anyone
Everyone must feel they have the license to improve.

In the end, if people care, they give constant feedback and that constant feedback creates a strong culture.

Thanks for reading! Give me feedback!
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/leifthunder

Feel free to reach out if you have questions, suggestions or have any feedback: [email protected]

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