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When asking or giving feedback, it’s important to be specific. We like to follow the format of SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive. Rather than saying, “You need to track accounts better,” it’s better to say, “You can track your accounts better by checking in with customers every two weeks on the status of their project/ask if they have any questions.” — Kenny Nguyen, Big Fish Presentations
2. When you ask what you can take action on
Make feedback actionable in the effort to improve. If the feedback is, “Sam rambles during in-person meetings with clients,” then the follow up could be a discussion or plan with Sam’s input that outlines, “Sam will sit in three meetings with Sally and Tom to observe their concise approach in meetings, and Sam will join Toastmasters and attend 10 meetings to brush up on his speaking skills.” — Beck Bamberger, BAM Communications
3. When you give feedback in real time
Performance feedback has more of an impact when it pertains specifically to a situation that has just occurred or is occurring in the present. If it gives the individual the opportunity to course-correct in the moment, so much the better. Use micro-feedback tools like Yammer and Twitter or even basic text message to comment as quickly and efficiently as possible. — Alexandra Levit, Inspiration at Work
4. When you look for “the why”
It’s not “the what” that’s helpful (this is what you did wrong). It’s finding out the reason why what the employee did was wrong. Understanding why will make it less likely that the mistake is repeated in the future. — Josh Weiss, Bluegala
5. When it’s actionable and concrete
Feedback can only be useful if it’s specific (tied to a particular series of events) and actionable. Advice and feedback that doesn’t meet these criteria is otherwise useless. — Kyle Samani, Pristine
6. When it compares samples and past data
Performance feedback can be useful in two ways. One, you use it as a comparative sample to other feedback that falls in the same task categories. Second, you can keep the performance feedback for a while and create your own performance chart that utilizes past data. — Kevin Xu, Mebo International
7. When you can measure change
We are a data-driven company and put heavy emphasis on analytics and key performance indicators. With that said, it is easy to start measuring and analyzing too much data, so we have a rule of thumb that we only measure what we want and can change. For example, we measure the cost to sign up a retail partner to our program. We want to reduce the cost per store and this is something we can change. — Dusty Wunderlich, Bristlecone Holdings
8. When it comes from a reputable source
The best feedback comes from reputable people, who are often those within your inner circle of trust. — Matthew Moisan, Moisan Legal, P.C.
If you are providing feedback to an individual, by all means do so, but also explain how other aspects of the company will improve to help their cause. Even better, list out your own personal performance goals and show how everything is connected. It will make it feel less personal. — Adam Stillman, SparkReel
10. When you define next steps
Giving feedback isn’t enough without a plan. Tying performance feedback with action items and a plan helps to give direction to areas that need improvement and provides guideposts for both parties. — Basha Rubin, Priori Legal
11. When it provides a roadmap for improvement
Performance feedback is useful when it provides actionable recommendations to improve. Useful performance feedback uses roadmaps with predefined dates to check in on progress. This will help ensure that there is improvement. — Randy Rayess, VenturePact
12. When it comes from a place of understanding
I’m not perfect, and I need the team around me to see/understand what my weaknesses are and offer solutions for both the near future and the long term. If the source understands what your strengths are — and you both know that one person can’t do it all — it will be much more impactful. — Mina Chang, Linking the World