5-Step Feedback Formula

According to a recent Gallup survey, only 26% of employees say that the feedback they receive actually helps them to improve their work. 

As owners of Companies, I hope this is concerning to you. I know that you don’t want to waste your valuable time giving someone feedback that’s going to result in zero improvement … 75% of the time. I also know that you hired someone for a specific result, and if they’re not executing on your expectations; you need to have the tools to pivot as quickly as possible.

I’ve developed a formula and a foundation for giving feedback that’s not only effective, but it gets you the results you’re looking for. 

Most importantly, before giving anyone feedback, you must ensure that these three things are in place.


  1. Right TIME
    • Make sure it’s a good time for you and for your employee. Pay attention to time zones (if remote), right before lunch, or end time for the day. If they open up to you that morning that their dog died or their boyfriend broke up with them, give it a day or two.
  2. Right PLACE
    • Be respectful of WHERE you give feedback. Make sure they’re comfortable and don’t feel like they’re on display.
  3. Right MINDSET
    • YOU need to be in the right mindset. Put yourself into the mindset that you can love the person without loving their actions. Feedback is a GIFT. Feedback is an opportunity to evolve and grow. Be intentional. “What are the results that I’m looking to achieve?” Be grounded in this intention. When you know the result you’re looking for, you’ll likely approach the conversation more effectively.


  1. Start with an INVITATION
    • The point here is to prime the brain to receive feedback logically; not emotionally. Our brains are hard-wired for survival, so if you start right in on someone – the brain’s reaction is to defend; which immediately shuts out logic, and the emotional side of the brain takes over 100%.  This kind of emotional hi-jacking makes someone literally unable to receive feedback effectively. It’s YOUR job as the Leader, to approach feedback in a way that sets their brain up for effective reception.
    • Usually done with a question, and NOT “Do you have a few minutes to talk, or Can I talk to you about what really frustrated me on our last project?”
    • Instead, try; “I’d like to de-brief about what went well on last week’s launch and what we could improve on for the future. Would you be open to working through that with me”?
  1. Communicate with FACTS & DATA
    • This is all LOGIC. Only facts and data that you can prove to be the truth are appropriate here. NO EMOTIONS ALLOWED.
    • These are specific examples that are factual. The more detail the better.
    • Example: “Last week, we had all agreed on the timeline and responsibilities for launching our new website. However, you were a day late on getting the about page built out with the graphics that we had designed”.
  1. Show the IMPACT
    • This is where some emotion can come in. How do their actions affect others or the organization?
    • Example: “We set up that project with a pretty tight timeline, and because your portion was late, it resulted in us launching the site a day later than we had committed to our community. And keeping our commitments is something we do 100% of the time. Honestly, this was a little frustrating, and it made me question if there is any confusion or misalignment with our company principles”.
    • Get them involved in the conversation. Switch from one-way dialogue to a problem-solving exchange. This is best done through a question that allows them to contribute to the solution.
    • Example: “Is that how you see it? Do you have any ideas as to how we can prevent something like this from happening in the future”?
    • The point here is to keep the person OUT of a shame storm. Let them know that you believe in them, and you know that they have good intentions. 
    • Expectations are specific; not, “I need you to be more dependable.” What is the ACTION that makes them dependable?
    • Example: “I know that you value our team working seamlessly and everyone doing their part to meet our commitments, so can I count on you to get your tasks in by the agreed-upon deadline going forward”?

Here’s the great news. This formula can be used in any relationship. It’s not exclusive to work environments. I use this same formula when I need to give feedback to a friend, my spouse, even my kids. Try it out, make it yours, and don’t forget that giving feedback is a gift. Everyone needs a feedback loop, and it’s the Leader’s responsibility to ensure that the feedback is effective.

November 2, 2023


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