Ask Yourself What Do You Need to Provide To Your Team Members Feedback Or Feed-Forward - Become An Expert Of Knowing The Important Difference - Investment Capital Growth

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Ask Yourself What Do You Need to Provide To Your Team Members Feedback Or Feed-Forward – Become An Expert Of Knowing The Important Difference

Posted by Cliff Locks On November 24, 2021 at 10:06 am

Ask Yourself What Do You Need to Provide To Your Team Members Feedback Or Feed-Forward – Become An Expert Of Knowing The Important Difference

There’s a tug-of-war going on in my house. I like it warm, but my daughter likes it cool. Whenever I walk by the kitchen where she’s studying, her, head snaps up. And if I dare touch that thermostat, she’s right there to change back the setting.

A thermostat runs entirely on a feedback loop, without anyone thinking about it—constantly responding to the climate, internal and external. And that’s what we need to do, as well: continuously meet others where they are—not where we are—and then transport all of us forward, together.

It’s not simply “feedback”—more importantly, it’s “feed-forward.” This is 2021, after all. We are just trying to help people get through, one day to the next—to see the blue sky through that tiny opening in the clouds.

One-and-done annual performance reviews conjure up images of sitting across a desk with a boss who is reading a list of all the areas where someone needs to improve. Let’s be honest: when anyone says, “Can I give you feedback?” what’s the likely reaction? People grip the arms of the chair and brace for impact—because what’s coming probably isn’t “great job.”

Today, more than ever, we need to engage others with intentionality, as Ann Powell, CHRO for Bristol Myers Squibb, told me. She recalled receiving so much constant feedback from a manager early in her career that it was uncomfortable. When she asked why, the response was immediate: “I push because I see your potential… because I care.” Once Ann understood the manager’s intention, it clicked immediately. That’s exactly how we move forward—with the intentionality of making tomorrow better than today, for all of us.

Just as we say to loved ones, “I’m only telling you this because I love you,” we need to let others know that we care. We want them to succeed—indeed, we want to help ensure they succeed. As Shelie Gustafson, CHRO of Jacobs, shared with me this week, feedback “isn’t about right/wrong, good/bad.” Rather, it’s about “being a source of information (data, observations, considerations) to give people what they need to ‘adjust their sails’ to navigate” at the moment.

With intentionality and a true connection, we can make explicit what used to be implicit when we were in the same room together. People learn the most from what they don’t expect to hear—and probably don’t want to receive. As one executive shared with me the other day, “My favorite phrase is ‘feedback is a gift.’”

That’s true, even when it doesn’t feel like much of a gift. My daughter Emily, who is a junior in college, was a finalist for an internship, the kind of competitive position where hundreds apply and only a few make it. Despite all the hours of preparation, and then waiting on pins and needles, Emily found out last week that she was not selected.

Amazingly, that news came in a phone call from a manager, who took the time to offer Emily some feedback that will help her in the future. It really was feed-forward. Who does that anymore—especially during a pandemic? I happened to be with Emily when she received the call. Afterward, I told her, “First of all, I want you to know how proud I am of you.” Then I gave her some perspective: “You will not appreciate it now, but calling you was a very classy thing for that firm to do. Trust me, that call was harder for them to make than it was for you to receive. You’ll understand one day when you’re the one who has to make that call.”

To feed-forward, we connect first, understand second, contextualize third, and provide input fourth. Here are some thoughts:

  • Listen twice as much as you speak. First and foremost, our role is to listen. When a genuine connection exists, people are more willing to share the story behind the story. They may be struggling professionally or personally. When we’re the listener, we may hear things that we are not equipped to solve in the moment—and that’s okay. It’s not about what we have to say. It’s all about how we demonstrate that we care—listening with empathy, compassion, and a genuine desire to understand.
  • Handle with ‘CARE.’ Performance isn’t a once-a-year task—so neither should giving feedback. That’s why, when offering career advice, I tell people not to wait for a summit meeting with their boss. As Lesley Uren, a member of our Consulting team based in London, told me, “If the rhythm of their work isn’t yearly, why should their review be annual?” It’s all about providing guidance and support at the point of performance. Michelle Stuntz, a Consulting team member in Washington, D.C., further emphasized the importance of focusing on today’s reality: “It’s absolutely feed-forward: this day, this week, this month, this quarter…” In these real-time conversations, the approach should be to “CARE” for others: Candid conversations, Asking people how they are doing, Reviewing how things are going, and Engaging them.
  • ‘Keep it coming.’ Those were three of the most encouraging words I heard this week. It started with a conversation I had with a colleague in which I gave some direct feedback. Afterwards, though, I wasn’t sure this colleague felt any better. So, I made a second call to continue the conversation—to contextualize: “What you have done for us is unbelievable.” I tried to channel my best feed-forward so that, together, tomorrow would be better than today. Afterwards my colleague emailed me: “It doesn’t matter if it is positive feedback or critical feedback. Someone took the time… When people retreat from you, turn quiet, turn off, grow indifferent—that’s when it’s time to worry. Indifference is the enemy. So, keep it coming.”
  • Trusting our radar. When she was seven years old, Linda Hyman, our firm’s Executive Vice President, Global Human Resources, used to tag along with her father, a radar specialist, when he went into the field to fix equipment. When she asked her father about his job, he explained that he fixed guidance systems: “They help keep people safe. It’s like what your mom and I do when we see your shoe is untied or you should wear a heavier coat because it’s cold outside.” At that moment, Linda told me in our conversation this week, she grasped the importance of guidance—with a loving intention. “That’s a huge shift in a relationship—and probably the most important part of establishing trust so that, together, we can move forward,” Linda said.

Indeed, feedback is a gift. It requires care on the part of the person providing it and courage for the person receiving it—and a relationship that connects them both.

Let’s work together,  schedule a call:

Contributor: Gary Burnison, Korn Ferry CEO and edits by Cliff Locks, Investment Capital Growth, Managing Director and Executive Coach

Recent Blog Post: Today’s Hiring Environment: Candidates are asking – What’s the culture like? What is it like to work there? What are the people like?


Cliff Locks is a trusted mentor, confidant, and advisor to CEOs, C-Level Exec, and high-potential employees to help them clarify goals, unlock their potential, and create actionable strategic plans.

Available to join your Board as a Certified Master Professional Board of Director and Advisor.

I am a trusted mentor, confidant, and advisor available by Zoom and by phone to be your right-hand man, who will make a significant contribution and impact on your way to success.

As a Trusted Mentor, Confidant, and Advisor, I support you, along with your company’s strategic and annual operating plan. This plan may include marketing, sales, product development, supply chain, hiring policies, compensation, benefits, performance management, and succession planning.


Most successful leaders enjoy talking to someone about their experiences, which is why most develop a close relationship with a Trusted Confidant—a person with whom they feel free to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of sharing too much or being judged by the people they lead, or their colleagues and superiors. I am a sounding board who will help you to better develop and see your ideas through to fruition.

The most effective Executive find confidants who complement their strengths and sharpen their effectiveness. Bill Gates uses Steve Ballmer in this way; Warren Buffett turns to vice chairman Charlie Munger. In the end, both the Executive and their organizations benefit from these relationships.

As your trusted confidant, I am always by your side, holding your deepest secrets and never judging. Everything discussed is held in complete confidence.

What many executives feel is missing from their busy life is a trusted business person who understands the holistic complexity of both their business and personal life.

I strive to provide solid financial, business, and family expertise and serve as a dispassionate sounding board, a role I like to call “Executive Confidant.”

By holding a safe place for the Executive to work on life path issues as well as direction, I repeatedly see remarkable benefits as personal values become integrated with wealth and family decisions, enhancing a more meaningful life.

As an Executive Confidant, I welcome a confidential conversation about the most important issues facing the business leader, including:

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The job of an Executive can be lonely. For various reasons, confiding in colleagues, company associates, family members, or friends presents complications. Powerful, successful, and wealthy individuals often isolate themselves as a protective reaction because of their inability to find people they can trust and confide in.

Successful people are often surrounded by many people, yet they insulate and isolate themselves to varying levels of degree. This isolation factor is not often discussed in the same context because the assumption is that success and wealth only solve problems. The false belief is that it does not create more problems, when, in fact, sometimes it creates a unique set of new challenges. Success and wealth do not insulate you from the same pitfalls that the everyday person faces. It may give you access to better solutions perhaps, and that is what I can help you achieve. Financial business success can create unique vulnerabilities, often overlooked as most people feel that the “problems” of the wealthy are not real-life problems.

The Executive Confidant can be particularly helpful when:

• Aligning life priorities with the responsibilities of wealth. • Wanting more meaning and purpose in life. • Desiring a candid and experienced perspective. • The answers often come from within, and we cannot arrive at them easily. • Clarity often comes into focus, with skilled questions and guided discovery. The right questions can be the first step in achieving ideal outcomes.

Who can you turn to when you need to find clarity? Who is your “Executive Confidant”?

Referrals to team members or family members are always welcome.


One-to-One – Individual payment: Strategic Coaching: $295 per month (weekly for 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the depth of our conversation Zoom meeting).

One-to-One – Corporate payment:
i. Coaching & Leadership Development: $600 per month engagement (weekly 1 hour Zoom meeting).
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