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  • Writer's pictureMark Harbottle

The Importance of Feedback (Part 2)

I didn’t really plan to write a part 2 to my original post on The Importance of Feedback, but throughout the journey of improving the quality and quantity of feedback at Cronofy it felt like a great opportunity to share what I’ve learnt, and give an update on what my next steps are.


So where did I leave you?


We’d implemented a feedback model - the ACID test (check out my feedback scoring blog post for a better breakdown of this) which I was scoring out of 4, I was running feedback training sessions in groups, and I set myself some objectives for Q2:

  • To increase the average feedback score at Cronofy from 2.2 to 3

  • To have at least 100 bits (pieces?) of feedback provided.

When June rolled around, we’d smashed the 100 out the park. I was super impressed to see that 145 pieces of feedback had been provided. As for our feedback score - 2.98. Agonisingly close.


On the face of it that’s a big step forward. It looks like there’s loads of great feedback being given, but when I interrogated the numbers a little more there were a few observations.


Those best at giving feedback gave the most feedback


Typically, the longest serving and more senior members of the business were giving high-quality feedback a lot of the time. Fantastic for setting an example, but not great for skewing the numbers. Those less experienced who perhaps needed a little more attention to give better feedback weren’t doing it enough. A lower score would’ve made this more obvious - there is still room for improvement.


Some people still weren’t giving feedback


There were people who hadn't given any feedback in three months. Why? What prevented them from doing it? Were there just not enough opportunities for giving feedback? This leads me to my next point


Team members didn’t take up opportunities to give feedback


During the course of Q2, I created opportunities where feedback could’ve been provided:

  • We ran an anonymous SLT (Senior Leadership Team) pulse survey where only 30% of the company contributed. I acknowledge there are other factors at play here like “I don’t want my feedback to identify me” or “I was on holiday”

  • I requested feedback from everyone on my feedback coaching session and received less than a 50% response rate

  • We continued to run 360 feedback review cycles, with automated reminders and rarely hit a 100% response rate


The feedback was almost always positive


Action: “You did this awesome thing”

Context: “This is where you did this awesome thing”

Impact: “This is how impactful your awesome thing was”

Do / Do differently: “Keep doing this awesome thing”


I daresay that this awesome 4 out of 4 feedback is quite easy to give. One of my biggest learnings during my journey with feedback is that constructive feedback, while the hardest to give, is not just the most helpful but the feedback that people crave the most.


Stop telling me how good I am, tell me what I can be doing better.

I recognise I’ve jumped from smashing my Q2 targets to saying we have little and poor feedback at Cronofy, that’s far from the truth. I need to acknowledge that this is a journey, and I’m really pleased that people are using a model to give quality and relevant feedback to each other.


What now?


I’m aiming for more individuals to give feedback, and targetting constructive feedback. During Q3 I’ve adopted the following:


Feedback corner


Once every other All Hands (once a month) I’m doing feedback corner. You’d love it, we’ve got a jingle and everything (Thanks Colin!). I take real feedback that has been given that week, anonymise and share it with the whole company. We talk about why it’s good, bad, what could’ve been improved, and what score we’d give it.


I’m trying to create themes here, so sometimes we’ll look at constructive feedback, sometimes we’ll look at praise that could be more impactful, or certain parts of the ACID model. It’s hard to get people to contribute so I’ve often chosen a few people a few days before, shared the feedback with them, and asked them to contribute.


I’m trying to normalise feedback here and keep everyone involved. I want it to be accessible, and I don’t want people to feel like I’m in a high tower deciding the fate of everyone’s score. There has been a positive response - I’ve noticed some people who didn’t feedback much in Q2 really making an effort to use the model in Q3.


Management team feedback corner


We’re also doing a similar thing in our weekly management meetings; reviewing and scoring real feedback. Our managers have to be leading by example when it comes to providing quality feedback, so I need to ensure we’re all in agreement with what excellent 4 out of 4 feedback looks like.


This also gives me the opportunity to speak to people directly about their feedback, for example:


“Hey Marty, you gave this feedback to Doc last week. I’ve reviewed it and it only scores 1 out of 4 [for these reasons]. Let’s go through it again and talk about how we could improve it and get it up to 4”.


I’m not calling them out publicly, but in some cases people need time and attention 1:1 to help improve. If anything, I’m giving them constructive feedback on their feedback.


Working with Managers to improve the quality of feedback


I need to be saying “Hey, this person in your team hasn’t given feedback in a couple of weeks” or “After that project you did, were there opportunities to ask / give / request feedback?"


I also need to be ensuring that our Managers are exampling great feedback across the business, normalising it, making time for constructive feedback to feel helpful, and not to fear its arrival.



My Q3 feedback objectives


  • Feedback score minimum of 3,

  • At least 100 pieces of feedback provided, and everyone at Cronofy to give feedback twice in Q3


So I’m looking to maintain the high level of feedback across the business but this time I want everyone involved. I feel that feedback corner, picking up on some specific examples and spending some time 1:1 with the whole company.



Something I mused on with our CEO is that we’ll have truly adopted a 360 feedback culture at Cronofy when people are giving regular and constructive feedback publicly. Compared to Q1 this year I feel like we’re much, much closer to that.

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