Organizational Consultation XXIV: Feedback (Part One)
Appreciative feedback processes also help organizational leaders address a troublesome dilemma regarding succession planning. The leaders of most contemporary organizations wish to make long-term commitments to their employees; yet, they must also prepare for major shifts in staffing needs that are responsive to changing conditions in the world their organization serves. Systematic performance review systems can be of particular value in this regard if they are used to identify enduring strengths among employees in the organization. What skills, knowledge and aptitudes does this employee possess that will be of value in many settings? Contemporary organizational leaders will invest in the ongoing education and training of an employee if they know of enduring skills, knowledge and aptitudes that their employees possess and can deploy for many years to come.
Function Six: Monitoring Of Compliance
A systematic feedback system can provide information to governing boards and senior administrators about the degree of congruence between the stated policies, procedures and priorities of the organization, on the one hand, and the actual actions being taken by members of the organization, on the other hand. This information can, in turn, be used to insure compliance with these policies, procedures and priorities. In addition, external audiences, such as legislators, funding agencies, foundations, customers and other interested constituencies can be kept up to date on organizational efforts and achievements.
It is hard to remain appreciative when serving this sixth function. It is closely aligned with the deficit model of feedback and relates directly to the prediction and control model of management that was prevalent in 20th Century organizations. There is still room for appreciation, however, in serving this function. In large part, this is because there have been many documented instances where a deficit-based feedback system has misled rather than assisted leaders in their assessment of compliance in an organization. People often lie when asked to indicate whether another employee is complying with company policies. Truthful evaluations would display a lack of loyalty to one’s colleagues. We often don’t comply with a mandate to monitor the compliance of those with whom we work. So someone is given the job of monitoring the monitoring process . . . and a paradoxical condition replicates itself.