How to Provide Real Time Feedback — Note, It’s Not an App

She had spent close to three years in sales excelling by exceeding quota and of course receiving many instances of real time feedback. This incredibly sharp individual built the case over 6 months to her rapidly growing company that she deserved a shot on the Operations side of the business. After all, improving process and operations with her engineering degree from Georgia Tech would better serve the global sales team than her hitting quota.

As I walked her through the updates of WideAngle’s Agile Performance Management platform, I also mentioned we had a mobile app coming out. The look on her face was perplexing. Most customers gleefully get giddy about the thought of a mobile app, but then I remember it wasn’t 2010.

“You don’t seem as excited as some of the other customers about this news.”  I prodded.  

Her response was incredible.

“We are all just notificationed-out. Our phones are constantly being pinged with something. We get updates from our CRM, we get updates from our email, we get updates from at least 3 other corporate apps, and then Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, well you get the point.”

She is right. I feel the pings from all of those apps. On average we look at our phone 85 times a day and stare at it on average for 5 hours a day.

So when the news arrives of “another app” pinging her pocket, I immediately understood her initial hesitation.

Our product team listened.

There is a Reason 1:1’s are Scheduled and Time Boxed

My response was simple.

“Don’t worry, we’re not going to update you every time you get feedback via a push notification. We want the same thing you do: to make sure the most powerful management tool, 1:1 meetings, are happening, productive, and documented.”

Benefits of 1:1 meetings (tied into your Agile Performance Management platform) include differentiating between what is important versus what is urgent. Pings and push notifications don’t differentiate what is a top priority and what is not. When done correctly, 1:1 meetings give the manager and the direct report even more time back in their week.

Real Time Feedback is Not Solved By an App

Nobody wants more work. Yet, a slew of “real-time feedback apps about performance” are starting to make the rounds in Silicon Valley. More interruptions and more distractions will not lead to more productivity

Assistant professor, productivity blogger, and best selling author, Cal Newport puts texting, “social media, and the shiny tangle of infotainment sites like BuzzFeed and Reddit” in the category of things that disrupt our attention spans and “wring every last drop of value out of your current intellectual ­capacity.”

If pinging our pocket with distractions is not the answer then what is?

But Jon, You Have Built a Company with Thousands of Users that Facilitates Feedback Through 1:1’s

Correct. However true, real-time feedback happens best in person and quickly (in actual real time and face to face). Keep reading to see the best way to give it.

Our platform focuses on the important conversations between managers and direct reports through scheduled, weekly/bi-weekly 1:1 meetings where a direct report and her manager talk about performance, ideas, projects, and any other items on the direct report’s agenda.

1:1 meetings for pieces of information that are important — not urgent. Most time real time feedback is urgent.

Bottom-line: real time feedback is very difficult to achieve in an app — and it’s always best practice to do it face to face.

So What is the Best Way to Give Real-Time Feedback?

The simplest and most effective methodology for real time feedback comes from proven experts and years of data and research from our trusted source of guidance at Manager Tools and their most recent book: The Effective Manager.

The Manager Tool Feedback Model has four simple steps.

Step 1: Ask.

Step 2: State the behavior.

Step 3: State the Impact of the behavior.

Step 4: Encourage effective future behavior.

This is one of the best models for offering valuable real time feedback. Before we dive into the model, it’s important to know you can really only give feedback on behavior because it’s very concrete and visible. Attempting to give feedback on attitude or mental state is difficult because a manager cannot know what the direct is thinking.

Step 1. Ask.

Example: “Can I give you some feedback?” OR “Can I share something with you?”

Asking your direct report enables you to make sure that the direct is listening.

Step 2. State the behavior.

Example of Stating Good Behavior: “When you stay an hour late to make sure the customer is satisfied”

Example of Stating Poor Behavior: “When you snicker and roll your eyes coming out of team meetings…”

Using the words “When you” are favorites from the experts at Manager Tools.

Step 3. State the Impact of the Behavior.

Example of Stating the Impact of Behavior:

Manager: “Can I share something with you?”
Direct Report: “Absolutely.”
Manager: “When you stay an hour late to make sure the customer is satisfied, to really demonstrates your dedication to success and adds immense value to the company. It means a lot to our customers as well. Thank you.”

A good way to remember how to execute Step 3 properly is by using the words “here is what happens.”

Step 4. Encouraging Effective Future Behavior

Example of Encouraging Effective Future Behavior:

Manager: “Can I give you feedback?”
Direct: “Yes.”
Manager: “When you promise you’ll get the sales reports to me and it’s a day late, I have to readjust my schedule and priorities to get them to our boss on time. Can you work on that, please?

Asking questions like “Can you change that?” OR “What can you do differently?” are great phrases to encourage positive, future behavior.

Real time feedback should be given immediately… in real-time. An app should never be used for real time feedback. On the other hand, leveraging an app to provide structure, process, and accountability around the most powerful management tool: the weekly or bi-weekly 1:1 meeting, well that makes more sense.

I just got too tired of 1:1’s being pushed, losing my notes, and dropping the ball.

Use the Manager Tool Feedback Model for real time feedback, not an app.

WideAngle is software for your 1:1 meetings that power your Agile Performance Management platform. Give us a call to set up your free trial.

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