Feedforward: Is it more effective than feedback?

Feedforward is a progressive concept that is gaining increasing attention. Unlike feedback, feedforward focuses on the future and anticipating success. In this introduction, discover the power of feedforward and how to apply it within your own organisation.


Effective feedback and the role of feedforward both play an important role in growth and development. Giving feedback or feedforward in a constructive way is an important skill. We spoke to Peter Robertson about feedforward and the Growth-Curve.

"Good leaders are usually focused on the future (feedforward) and know what it takes to achieve desired results. In addition, leaders provide continuous feedback in the traditional sense, and actively seek feedback from employees themselves."


According to Robertson, the Growth Curve balances feedforward and feedback. Feedforward focuses on anticipating what is needed for success, while feedback ensures control and progress.

However, in many organisations, creating and maintaining structure becomes increasingly dominant, leading to an increasing amount of feedback. This can eventually lead to a bureaucratic culture.

High on the Growth Curve, cultures are normative, also called feedback-driven, where norms lead to consistent behaviour. At the other end, values are more focused on feedforward. The ideal situation requires a balance between the two.

Feedforward and successful leaders

Good leaders play a vital role in fostering the development of team members and the organisation as a whole. They are focused on the future (feedforward) and have a clear understanding of what is needed to achieve desired results. In addition to providing traditional feedback, they actively seek feedback from employees.

While feedback is valuable for understanding the past and avoiding mistakes, it has a limitation: it is focused on the past while the world is changing rapidly. This is where feedforward comes in. Feedforward is forward-looking and better able to respond to market changes. It affects everything from the interactions between managers and employees to anticipating demands and problems before it is too late.

Successful leaders often share one common trait: they are forward-looking and do not let past mistakes hinder them. As a result, less energy is wasted on things that cannot be changed and the risk of bureaucracy is reduced. Moreover, successful people respond better to a feedforward approach because they are constantly looking for information that will bring them closer to their goals.

The benefits of feedforward

Feedback and feedforward are both effective strategies, feedforward has certain advantages. After all, we can change the future, but not the past. But not only that are advantages of feedforward:

How do you conduct a feedforward conversation?

If you want to have a good feedforward conversation with your team, it is important to identify the traits of individuals. Focus specifically on traits that encourage growth and development of both the employee and the organisation.

In feedforward, you focus on improving things that are already good. You point out a dot on the horizon, so to speak.

Tips for having a feedforward conversation

Getting started with feedback and feedforward?

Sparring about your organisation's complex challenges? Or getting straight down to giving and receiving constructive feedforward?

Contact us at info@human-insight.com or call +31 (0)85 8229827.


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