How to give feedback – the McKinsey feedback model

From Working With McKinsey (via Robert Lakin):

The McKinsey Feedback Model is the approach the Firm recommends for delivering feedback… The intent of the model is to make the feedback:

  • Specific
  • Fact-based
  • Less personal
  • Irrefutable
  • Actionable

Recommended format for structured feedback: “When you did [X], it made me feel [Y]. In the future, I would recommend that you do [Z]”

Why we reference specific, observable actions: The more specific the example, the more vivid and memorable the feedback. Being fact-based keeps the feedback from feeling too personal to the recipient. The first part is incontrovertible, as long as you remembered and communicated it correctly.

Why we include how it made us feel: Explaining how the recipient’s action made you feel [Y] is also unarguable – your feelings and reactions are your own and no one can deny them. The intent of the first two steps is to set the stage for giving the recommendation without getting derailed by debating the context.

Why suggestions have to be specific and actionable: The point of providing feedback is so that we can improve. If someone receives feedback that is too vague or beyond their control, it does nothing to help them do better the next time. Feedback should be provided in such a way that if the feedback recipient does what you recommend, it will solve the problem and prevent [X] and [Y] from occurring again.

Example:  “When you checked in on my progress every 10 minutes, it made me feel like you didn’t trust me to complete the project and I couldn’t maintain my focus on the task. In the future, I would suggest we agree upon specific milestones and check-in points to ensure the project will be completed on time.”

4 thoughts on “How to give feedback – the McKinsey feedback model

  1. Pingback: To solve problems, first specify them correctly | A Founder's Notebook

  2. Pingback: The minimum requirements for giving effective feedback | A Founder's Notebook

  3. Pingback: Give feedback with compassion | THE EQUITY KICKER

  4. A warning: There is plenty of reasearch on feedback and this is NOT a good way to provide it. In the example above “trust” is a personal judgement and should be kept out of the situation. Just skip it and say “When you checked in on my progress every 10 minutes I couldn’t maintain my focus on the task. In the future, I would suggest we agree upon specific milestones and check-in points to ensure the project will be completed on time.”

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