Feedback! An essential in my life for the past 50 years!

This is my response to question that Bill posted at the National OD Network Group on Linkedin around feedback.



Bill my response does not speak of the trend data you are asking for but I recommend the classic book by Charlie and Edie Seashore, “What Did You Say? The Art of Giving and  Receiving Feedback.”


I use their definition all the time. It is,


“Feedback can be defined as:

-information about past behavior

-delivered in the present

-which may influence the future.”


Marv Weisbord says of the book, ” I had several ‘ahas’ reading this clear and entertaining excursion into everyday interactions.. Feedback should be given sparingly and taken thoughtfully–with a grain of salt. That’s one (of many) useful messages demonstrated here.



Speaking of trend. Edie told us recently at the Minnesota OD Network that the notion of “Feedback” had arrived for her when she over heard the construction workers at the airport having an intense conversation about giving each other feedback. 



My long time client, the late Steve Harmon oft said, “Feedback is the breakfast, lunch and dinner of champions.”



Oh. The memories. I was introduced to feedback in 1962 in a Charlie Seashore NTL T-group. Non-stop feedback. The experience was so dramatic and positive for me that I started investigating the world of change agents.   That led me to a Jack Gibb TORI lab. Dr. Gibb was Charlie’s thesis advisor.


In my hometown gym, 300 of us were experiencing feedback in Jack’s Human Interaction Lab.  At the first break, I went up to Jack and took a giant risk as a guy in his early 20’s and asked him to give me feedback. From his observation of me for only 2 hours in a group of 300 he gave me ten strengths and ten  behaviors that needed to be changed. I was so awe struck by his accuracy that at that lab I decided that I wanted to be like Dr. Gibb and dedicate my life to being a change agent and as they say the rest is history.



Oh. One other idea. Lou Carter has just created an on-line feedback tool that I am piloting with my above “Steve Harmon” client. See it at Take a free trial run.



Now. System wide feedback is an essential in all I do. My practice after 50 years now has one purpose and that is to train change agents velcrowed to my hip. I only work in the context of Whole System Change. I must have a minimum 2.5 day intensive. My signature for 40 years has always been to end the event  appreciative feedback.


And two way feedback between my self and the change agent who is transforming themselves is key. Feedback is the fuel or nutrition for transformation.


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