Horizontal feedback with Speedwraps: step by step

Although proven the power of good feedback for people development, many companies still neglect this practice, making it extremely formal, bureaucratic, and costly.

A process that should be simple and constant, often happens to be annual or semiannual, conducted by people who do not know the nature of the work performed by the team, ignoring the difficulties and challenges faced daily.

One practice that is gaining more and more adepts to combat this dysfunction is the encouragement of horizontal feedbacks, where team members themselves are responsible for talking to each other, contributing to each other’s ongoing improvement as individuals and professionals. Among the main benefits of this practice are:

  • increases empathy, compassion and respect among the team members, creating a closer proximity between people;
  • improves communication, avoiding noise since there are no compilations and pass through;
  • are more realistic because they are provided directly by their teammates;
  • reduces people turnover, helping to retain people in the company;
  • creates a favorable environment to people continuous improvement;
  • increases engagement.

SpeedWraps

Speedwraps is an excellent dynamic that aims to create a safe environment so that members of a team can exchange feedbacks in a simple, sincere and honest way. The dynamic respects the principles of nonviolent communication, favoring effective communication through empathy, supporting the expression of feelings and needs rather than critiques or value judgments.

I created Speedwraps for the purpose of encouraging the practice of constant feedbacks as a gift, represented in the form of a card delivered shortly after the conversation between peers. The cards were inspired by Management 3.0’s Feedback Wraps practice and serve as support from feedback preparation to transmission.

The cards encourage feedback and are composed of five important components:

  1. Describe your context: to begin with, describe the environment in which you are, your mood and expectations;
  2. List your observations: Report the observed facts or experiences that led to the conversation;
  3. Express your emotions: how you felt about the fact or experience;
  4. Explain the value: Show the added value to the fact that occurred or change needed;
  5. End with suggestions: Provide helpful suggestions in a positive way and offer assistance.
SpeedWrap Card (Thanks Raphael Montenegro)

How it works

Using the dynamics is very simple. Just have a facilitator attentive to the following aspects:

Team preparation:

  1. Explain the dynamics to the team. If you need any supporting material, check out my talk at The Developer’s Conference 2017. I hope it helps;
  2. Teach basic concepts about giving and receiving feedback;
  3. Make sure that everyone involved wants to participate in the momentum. For this, you can use some facilitation technique in which people can express themselves anonymously. If at least one of them does not feel comfortable, postpone the dynamics and work to make them comfortable at another time;
  4. Encourage the writing of a card for each member of the team, since in the session everyone will exchange feedbacks with each other;
  5. Combine the timebox that will be used by each pair to give and receive feedback. Example: six minutes per pair, of which we will have three minutes to speak and three minutes to listen attentively;
  6. Schedule the day, time and place for the meeting.

Environment preparation:

  1. Organize a quiet place where people can talk undistuberly;
  2. Arrange the chairs so that they are positioned face to face and in pairs, allowing greater visual contact facilitating the interaction. One of the easiest ways to do this setup is to dispose two rows of chairs while maintaining eye contact between pairs. In the case of an odd number of people, reserve a chair in a separate place to serve as a waiting point;
  3. Provide a timer in a place where everyone can track the duration of each round of feedback.
People position and direction of the conversations
People position and directing the conversation with one person waiting.

Facilitator running the dynamics:

  1. Receive the team in the place scheduled with all the environment already prepared;
  2. Invite people to accommodate on the chairs;
  3. Remember them about the dynamics rules, the chair rotation, and timing of each conversation.
One person remains at the same place and the others move counterclockwise after each round until they all exchange feedbacks.
The same movement showed before with a waiting place.

A few more tips

As a facilitator, after the first speedwrap meeting, I usually form a circle with all the participants and make a final reflection. I talk about the importance of the meeting and how the use of this tool can help to create/enhance the culture of horizontal feedbacks.

I conclude by encouraging participants to provide a feedback about the dynamic and, if they feel comfortable, to share how they felt during the process. I try to make them feel comfortable. The reports are often surprising.

Now that you know Speedwraps and the importance of horizontal feedback for team building and development, what about providing a special and empowering encounter within your organization?