360 Feedbook – feedback exercise
I called it Feedbook* as it produces a small booklet with feedback. If you repeat this more often, you can even keep the pages and ‘inlay’ them to build your personal Feedbook.
Even though it seems lightweight, I’ve witnessed it produce valuable results over and over.
- Recommended group size would be a product team (4-7 ppl), but they don’t need to be one. With bigger groups I would split up in multiple teams, when valuable, you can always repeat the exercise in a different group mix.
- Print a double-sided feedbook for each participant, maybe a few extra in case people misspell their name (Don’t ask…). Tip to print it on thick paper, as it seems to enhance how serious people take the feedback they give. Also people seem more inclined to keep the booklets afterwards.
- SET THE STAGE: To set the stage, one can start the exercise by asking participants to fold their papers in half to form a small ‘feedbook.’ Write their name on the front and on the dotted lines, four times in total. Draw a ‘selfie’ in the circle.
- INTRO: Introduce the exercise by shortly explaining about feedback. How often people consider feedback as something that might be hurtful. Carefully treading the terrain with “May I give you feedback?” While proper feedback is the whole range from constructive to appreciative feedback. As the Radical Candor podcast states the purpose of appreciative feedback is to help people know what to do more of, show them what success is, show them what is value, not to make them feel better. Purpose of constructive feedback is helping people know what to do better. Of course feel free to put it in your own words and context.
- CARROUSEL: Instruct everyone to give the feedbook in front of them to their left neighbor. They will receive one themselves from their right neighbor. Do not open it yet. Just read the name of the person on the front and first think on the appreciative and constructive feedback you want to give them. Try to keep it brief enough to fit roughly one sentence, but be clear enough to not needing to explain it.
- WRITE, DON’T READ: Then open the feedbook to write it down. Ask courtesy of the participants: the feedback inside someone else’s Feedbook is meant for that person. Your eye might catch something, but extensively reading it all, will most likely lower the psychological safety for others to give the most candid feedback they can.
- REPEAT: Repeat the two steps above (3 & 4) until everyone receives their own feedbook again.
- REFLECT: Read through the feedback you received. I would recommend to go with your own interpretation of it and not go into exploring and questioning mode. Write common topics and your key insights on the back. (For getting that in-depth one-on-one feedback there are much better other methods of asking for it. If you insist on using this exercise for it, see one of the variations.)
- ASK HELP: This step is optional, but adds a lot of value if the following two characteristics are true. If you have done this exercise with a team that works together more than 50% AND there is enough psychological safety to ask transparency on this. Now let people formulate a request for help and write it down. What can their teammates do to help them become a better version of themselves? Which good habit can they help strengthen? Or which habit can they make you more aware off to aid you in breaking it? Ask if everyone is comfortable if you visualize their ‘growth requests’ (either physically or digitally) close to where the team visualizes their work.
FILESHere is the Feedbook file to download:
- Split the appreciative and constructive feedback writing in separate rounds
- Don’t give the feedbook (counter)clockwise, but put them in the middle of the table, just grab another one when available
- Allow to give feedback in the same feedbook more than once to compensate different speeds of thinking/writing
- If you feel there is value in feedback longer than 1 sentence, consider to print bigger or add more pages to the Feedbook
- You can also make this exercise focus on one person. Consider using this for peer-to-peer appraisals instead of top-down/manager ones. In that case I would recommend adding a clarification round after reading to get more in-depth feedback
- Lots more variations possible, would love it if you experiment one and can share it with me
* This might be confusing to my fable+ colleagues, as we took over the name for people their personal development folder. It is a private owned folder in which people collect outcomes of exercises like this one, their Change Agent Maps, personal reflection and other things related to their learning and growth. If you’re interested, ask me about job openings at fable+. 😀