The Purpose of Feedback

Robert A. Loffreda

In the business world life comes at you like a and unforgiving! This new era demands more rapid responses. Immediate adaptability. Fast results. Above all else, it requires a personal growth rate that at least can match the growing pace of change. We must find a formula that helps us pull far more of our raw potential into play. And do it as quickly as possible. A deliberate, disciplined process that produces dramatic performance gains. As an organization you need to draw first and shoot high.


If your people are not better tomorrow than they were yesterday, you are losing ground. You are trying to compete in an impatient world with fierce competition and fleeting opportunities. And you are trying to do it with yesterday people. The Psychological Study is an in-depth assessment that enables an organization to decide on the fit between the candidate and a given job. It allows management to better understand the characteristics of the person, make a reasoned judgment and come to a conclusion. A second, equally important, function of The Study is to provide a springboard for individual development.


At the point of organizational entry (see Figure A) a new hire's performance level typically is below the norm relative to seasoned employees. Hopefully, there are exceptions to this rule. However, even the exceptions will have a learning curve. As the Figure illustrates, the new hire is ascending (the learning curve) but the seasoned performer is descending. In other words, someone further up the line has to stop what they are doing, reach back and try to bring the new hire along. This state of affairs creates a productivity intersection wherein the seasoned employees' functioning may be seriously impacted by the new hire's performance. The goal of the assimilation phase is to get both employees on the ascending plane. Just how long this takes depends on the readiness of the new hire.

This Figure illustrates a one-on-one relationship. However, it is rarely that simple. Any number of people may be stakeholders in the growth and development of the new hire. Thus, productivity intersections may be multiple. This means that rather than one, several seasoned employees need to gear down while the new hire gears up.


The Psychological Study/Feedback process can accelerate the speed of the new hires ascendancy. The contracting phase of the assessment/feedback process makes use of the concept of SMART goals. In their most common representation, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. In use, however, they become broader and richer tools for development. A somewhat expanded definition would be:

S – Simple, specific with a stretch, sensible, significant.

M – Meaningful, motivating.

A – Acceptable, achievable, action-oriented, accountable, as-if-now, agreed, agreed-upon, actionable, assignable.

R – Realistic, reviewable, relative, rewarding, reasonable, results-oriented, relevant to a mission.

T – Timely, time-specific, time-sensitive, and toward what you want.

Bottom line, new people joining an organization create a drag effect. The solution is a professionally developed and administered assessment/feedback system that shortens the learning curve, accelerates growth and gets everyone on the up slope as quickly as possible.