Team Practices Group/5-category framework for thinking about feedback

The following is a framework for thinking about feedback, useful for formal retrospectives or otherwise. This version was developed by Nelli Noakes, a consultant with Community at Work (and a regular adviser, teacher, and mentor to coaches and leaders at the WMF). She recommends that her clients develop their own version of this that makes the most sense for them – it is descriptive rather than prescriptive. It is written from the perspective of the person receiving feedback.

Category 1Edit

Feedback that I can act on independently and make immediate changeEdit

Example: if someone would like more fruit and less cookies at the afternoon break at a workshop, I can make that happen easily and don’t need to involve anyone else in the decision.

Category 2Edit

Feedback I can act on, but it’s too late to benefit the people in the roomEdit

Example: People didn’t like the way a day started and they’re not going to have another start of day 1 with me.

Category 3Edit

Feedback that I need to work with others to make changesEdit

Example: At the simple end, that could be a conversation with a building custodian to make changes to a physical space. More commonly, it’s something that a group of people themselves (perhaps at a workshop, offsite, etc) need to be involved in the solution. For instance, some people think the length of the day should be shorter or longer, and so I need to test that with the whole group. Or the feedback is about behaviors in the group, so I will facilitate them to find their own solutions.

Category 4Edit

Feedback that is outside of the power of me or anyone else in the room to do anything aboutEdit

Example: “I wish we had a different boss” or “I’d like the weather to be better."

Category 5Edit

Feedback with which I have a values clashEdit

Example: “I don’t think we should let women/people of color/immigrants speak on important issues.”