FeedForward is a positive, future-focused personal development process that, used with traditional feedback, takes the judgmental, critical sting out of feedback. Marshall Goldsmith and Jon Katzenbach coined the term after noticing the feedback process was more successful when FeedForward was added, shifting the focus from rehashing the mistakes of the past to concentrating on the promise of the future.

To understand how feedback and FeedForward work together, think of a shopping centre map and the little arrow pointing to “You Are Here.” Feedback is the arrow showing you where you are in key relationships. FeedForward is the map that directs you to where you want to be in your professional relationships.

FeedForward has other benefits. Imagine the boss calls you and says, “Please come into my office. I have some feedback for you.” Your first reaction is not likely to be, “Oh goody! Fun, fun, fun!” Actually, fun is the last word that comes to mind. FeedForward helps you move toward the goal in a more productive and less intimidating way.

FeedForward is focused on a future you can change, not a past you cannot change.

• There is no judging or critiquing of the person or ideas.

• You or your people learn from a diverse perspective.

• They or you can really listen because you don’t feel defensive.

• No feedback about the past (and all of the emotional baggage that comes with it) is allowed.

• It creates a rich pool of ideas with less work.