Should You Share Negative Feedback?

At Orientation Essentials we use FeedForward cards, and a new Member asked: “Should you share negative feedback?”

There are at least 17 answers to this question – each of them in context – I’ll share six today:

  1. On a FeedForward Card.
    1. No. Not ever.
      1. If the receiver is going to interpret this as bad news (and negative feedback will feel, initially, like bad news) they must hear it, not see it. Bad news is always for ears, not eyes.
      2. Bad news is always given to an individual. FeedForward cards are seen by the group.
    2. No. Not ever.
    3. When in doubt, refer to rule #1.
  2. When they have a behavior that is costing them credibility and referrals.
    1. Maybe.
      1. If you’ve experienced this behavior personally and the Member is in their first 90 days, share it with the MentorCoOrdinator. 
        1. Because it’s the MtCO’s role to bring new Members up to speed, they’ll be able to tactfully identify the action to change, in a context that is appropriate.
      2. If you’ve experienced this behavior personally and the Member has passed their initial 90 days, share it with the MembershipCoOrdinator.
        1. The MCO is responsible for quality in the Team. They are paying attention to repetitions. They may not take action this time, but if they don’t get this feedback from you the fourth time it happens might be the first time they hear about it.
  3. When they’ve asked you about it, privately.
    1. Yes. For this one thing, this one time.
      1. Asking for feedback is not carte blanche for an indefinite number of corrections for an indeterminate time.
      2. There is some good research about feedback and the minimum ratio to preserve the relationship is 3:1 – three good things for each correction.
        For relationship growth the ratio is 5:1.
        (By the way, if you’re a mother-in-law, in that context it’s 12:1.)
  4. When they haven’t asked you, but you know you could help.
    1. No. Unsolicited feedback is always for the giver.
    2. This means: if someone offers you feedback you haven’t asked for, it’s appropriate for you to smile, say thank you, shake hands, and move on – knowing what they said was for their own benefit more than for yours.
      1. I violated this rule [again] last week.
        1. A Member was sharing that he doesn’t get referrals, and it’s because of . . . well, not him.
        2. I addressed his InfoMinute language, specifically: “A good referral for me is somebody you might know who needs me.”
        3. And then I followed through.
        4. Haven’t heard from him since.
        5. My bad. He didn’t ask for my suggestions or corrections. The work I did to “help” wasn’t helpful to him – he didn’t want to change, he wanted validation that he was correct. I had no right to give him my perspective when he didn’t ask for it. I was out of line.
  5. When you’re at the ***Guardian Level in their bull’s-eye.
    1. Yes, because you are willing to risk the relationship for their success.
      1. Phil Pennartz did this for me years ago. He took me to lunch and said,
        “Wendy, you’ve got a reputation for not returning phone calls.
        If you don’t change that it’s going to kill your business.”

        1. After that I schedule lunch with Phil once a year, so he can tell me more. He has never abused the relationship.
        2. It could have gone the other way – I could have been angry and embarrassed, and avoided him in the future.
        3. He risked it because he valued my success over our relationship.
  6. When you’re willing to trade. 
    1. Yes. Because the context will make you equal.
      1. Several years ago Darrell said, “I’d like to take you to lunch in two weeks. I want you to think, between now and then, of one thing I’m not aware of that is sabotaging my business.”
      2. I said, “Happy to play, if you’ll give me one, too.”
      3. We were each clear that it was one thing – one.
        And one time, one.
    2. I haven’t totally changed the habit he identified for me, but I’m more aware of it now when I violate the principal. He’s never called me on it.

There are 21 different types of associations.
The type where negative feedback is appropriate is called an Education Association.
Toastmasters is a good example — you join Toastmasters because you want to increase your speaking skills.
You joined PowerCore because you want to increase your referrals.

Go make money  ~  W!


  • There are six levels of relationship – think of them as rings in a bull’s-eye:
    • Graze – like a drive by, you’ve met and they don’t remember you.
    • Grin – where they recognize you, but don’t remember your name or know your business.
    • Greet – when they know your name, and your business, but send referrals to someone else.
      • Generator – when they respond to requests for a referral with your name and contact information.
        • GateOpener – when they initiate conversations about you with clients who have not asked for your information.
          • ***Guardian – when they’re willing to risk the relationship by giving you information you’re going to find hard to hear.
  • Like a coin, there are two sides to the bull’s-eye.
    • Where you are in my bull’s-eye
    • Where I am in yours.
    • We’re not always at the same ring.



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