Organizational Consultation XXIV: Feedback (Part One)
Those who make use of an appreciative feedback system should be fully committed to both constructive evaluation and equitable treatment of all employees. If they act consistently on both of these commitments, then those providing appreciative feedback will be helping to create an organization in which employees want to be productive and all stakeholders feel like their work is being acknowledged. An equitable and appreciative feedback system will help leaders of the organization identify the distinctive talents of all members of the organization. This appreciation of distinctive talents in the organization will, in turn, assist current leaders in their identification and nurturing of future leaders at all levels in the organization. An equitable and appreciative approach to feedback also places the performance of individual employees within a broad context. Praise and blame are assigned to the system rather than to an individual employee or program unit. Primary attention is directed toward identification of systemic pathways to effective performance. This is another key point in creating an appreciative organization. In this way, each employee gains a clearer and more consistent sense of being treated in an equitable manner:
Function Eight: Documentation and Evidence
Appreciative feedback can be used to convince both internal and external stakeholders that an employee or program unit is valuable. Internal audiences (board members, customers, employees) and external parties (taxpayers, government officials, members of an overseer board) can be shown feedback-based documents demonstrating that members of the organization not only perform effectively, but also perform functions essential to the organization. If formal feedback systems were initially driven by an emphasis on accountability, then it is important to recognize that this emphasis still exists—though in a somewhat different form. There is still a lingering concern that employees should be monitored and reviewed, even if we can no longer either prediction or control their actions or the resultant outcomes. Today, we look for evidence that something has made an impact, even if we cannot be confident about the ultimate cause of this impact.