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Feedback, in the world of business, is the breakfast of champions. Feedback "feeds" us - it's at the top of the food pyramid for learning and professional development. Related: 3 Steps To Create Your Own Career Development Plan How often do you ASK for feedback? Feedback can be humbling, it can be eye-opening, and it can bring awareness to us of things that we're simply "blind" to... but if we don't ask for it, we usually don't receive it - particularly the constructive form. Many or most people will give us positive feedback, but very few will give us honest, candid feedback focused on how we can improve or how we can get better; things we SHOULD change or do differently. Make ASKING for feedback a habit. Seek feedback from others:

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Feedback V.S. Feedforward

Feedback is defined as the return of information about performance, a process, or an activity. Whether we like to receive it or not, feedback is an essential part of career development. If you don't know how you've been doing, how will you know where you need to improve, grow, and develop? Feedback is a look backward, it's the review of what has been done. Yet, the most important factor in receiving this information is determining what you'll do with it moving forward. Marshall Goldsmith coined the term "feedforward" as an alternative to feedback. This is the process of giving someone suggestions for future improvement. Rather than looking backwards at what they have done in the past. My experience is both are vital aspects of career development. You want to seek input from your manager (or a mentor or a respected colleague) not only on how your performance has been in the past but also get input on improvement suggestions to use in the future.


A great way to ensure you get information that touches on both past and future is to use "start/stop/continue" questions. These questions would be posed with regard to your career development. So, relative to where you're looking to grow in your career, ask the following questions: "What should I start doing?", "What should I stop doing?" and "What should I continue doing?" The answers to these questions comprise both a backward look and a forward look at performance and development. For example, if you want to develop better negotiation skills, you'd ask, "What should I start doing that will enable me to improve my negotiation skills?" The feedback part of the response could be, "You haven't yet had enough opportunities to negotiate significant contracts with customers." And, the feedforward part of the response could be, "Why don't you sit in on some negotiation meetings with the vice president of sales and then, as you gain confidence, begin negotiating with customers on larger contracts." Having information about past behavior is really only useful if we are able to use it to continue to excel or, make necessary changes that help us improve and grow. Although we cannot change the past, we can certainly use past information to help change the future. Using these types of questions about your performance and career development allows you to get input in the form of feedback and feedforward. This is essential for you to grow your career.

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