Red Green Repeat Adventures of a Spec Driven Junkie

Manager Tools Trinity Feedback Focus

Georges Seurat - Circus Sideshow

Following up from Manager Tools Conference, I am focusing on giving feedback to my team this month.

When I listened to the podcasts and read the Trinity rollout emails, I thought I was giving feedback.

After the conference, I learned I was not giving feedback at all. I thought I was, but it was only in my head. It’s like having a bookshelf full of books that are not read. It may look like those I have read those books, because they are there, but I really haven’t read those books.

With tips from Kate, the difference in me giving feedback now is night and day. These are the changes I made to my feedback process:

  • setting a daily feedback goal
  • creating a default feedback list
  • reflecting and preparing feedback each morning

The hardest part about the whole feedback process is that I am changing to give feedback while also expecting the person receiving the feedback to change.

It’s dynamic environment where nothing is stable, but the new processes I am using now has added stability in the environment!

Setting Feedback Goal

One tip Kate gave me in the conference was to set a goal to give three feedback per day. I remember listening to a podcast and thinking: one feedback per direct per day. Which felt high, because I did not feel I could find one thing per direct per day.

By just giving three, it’s a lower bar, and not focused on one per direct, but three in general.

Also, another goal: 90% positive feedback per day. Having this metric is different than having just three feedback per day. The 90% positive feedback changes the tone. It’s the difference between giving bad news and good news. If you had the option, which would you choose?

With the goal of giving three feedback per day and 90% positive feedback, this changed my perspective on giving feedback. I don’t dread it anymore, I’m looking forward to giving positive feedback!

Creating Default List

One area of giving feedback I tripped up on: creating feedback on the fly.

I would try to give feedback as soon as I saw it happen using the new format of:

Can I give you some feedback? When you (direct’s behavior), it tells me that (your feeling). Keep it up.

I would be trying to do the following things:

  • evaluate behavior
  • figure out my feeling towards behavior
  • decide whether to give positive or negative feedback
  • learn to construct feedback in the above format

Trying to do all of these steps in real-time in front of my directs was overwhelming me, so instead of “screwing up”, I defaulted to not doing it.

Taking a step back, I learned from the conference to create a default list.

By creating a default list of feedback, I take all those steps and work on them in a calm environment. Where I can take time to evaluate, construct, and hone the feedback to exactly what I want.

The next time the behavior happens, I have the feedback prepared in my head and I just execute on it. No awkwardness, just smooth feedback.

Preparing feedback

Along with creating a default list of feedback, I also prepare feedback I want to give each morning.

The recommendation is to give Feedback on recent behaviors. When I prepare feedback in the morning, I use the previous work day as input to create feedback. This makes feedback recent and smooth.

As my goal is to have three feedback per day, I look for three things to give feedback on, write it up, and spend the day giving it. By preparing feedback the morning of, the feedback is on my mind and I focus on giving it.

As I have a goal of 90% positive feedback, I start to hunt for behaviors that I want to give feedback on. This makes giving feedback exciting, because I am giving good news. Think about how that changes your mindset towards your job, you are basically giving good news 90% of the time!


As I measure myself on giving feedback, I created a system for myself to make giving feedback easier by:

  • setting a daily goal
  • creating a default list
  • preparing feedback each morning

Each of these helped in their own way to me giving feedback to the team in a natural & smooth manner.

I see giving feedback is hard because I am changing and also expect the receiver of the feedback to change too. It’s a dynamic environment, but the Manager Tools Trinity Feedback model provides stability for me and my team.

As I am giving more positive feedback now, it has changed my job in a positive way and giving feedback is now exciting!