Why are we doing this?
Feedback is broken
“Eat more broccoli and do more pushups.”
This was the parting recommendation to my 72-year-old father, at the end of a recent annual physical exam.
It’s not bad advice. Most people could do with more broccoli and push-ups. Still, in the era of high-resolution blood testing, full-body MRIs, connected wearables, and electronic health records, we can do better.
Younger generations are beginning to do better. Usually it’s because we have taken matters into our own hands. We buy an Apple watch, sign up for Strava, and join a niche dieting subreddit, receiving a stream of continuous feedback as we approach our goals. Why does feedback at work feel like it’s stuck in 1984?
What do we believe?
We all have blind spots
We’ve all worked with a leader who has glaring blindspots. Our team has been fortunate to have benefited from great feedback, but chances are, people think the same about us.
Our tools for development should function as a mirror, helping us become more self-aware every day.
Feedback is a gift
Evaluation gets in the way of authentic feedback
62% of us have been
“blindsided” by a performance review. The context surrounding such reviews (compensation, promotion decisions) shifts focus from the underlying observations to the consequences of the review itself.
Authenticity is achieved when we make time to invest in our teammates, offering observations untethered to the context of a review.
Feedback works better when it is requested
Not everyone wants feedback.
Many employees are not ready for honest conversations. Tenure increases and mindsets grow more fixed. For these more senior team members, insecurity can get in the way of asking, but asking helps convey self-confidence and servant-leadership.
Our focus should be on teammates who care deeply about building self-awareness and getting better.
Younger employees want more feedback
Individuals should self-direct and own feedback
36% of the US workforce is employed on a contract or contingent basis. Companies no longer offer us a lifelong guarantee, and in 10 years, half of us will have a 1099.
The future of work and the consumerization of enterprise are not about better designed products. Instead, these changes reflect a polar reorientation towards individuals over companies.
Our growth is too important to delegate to an institution that cares about collective, not individual, outcomes. We should carry feedback from job to job — building a narrative that displays progress across projects, roles, and companies.
Remote makes feedback harder
Feedback has been the first casualty of our newfound work-from-home reality.
The generous piece of hard-earned wisdom or "job well done" rarely happens after the seventh back-to-back Zoom call.
The feedback process should be integrated within existing workflows and tools, helping distributed teams proactively form good feedback habits.
Why is Kaizen different?
Most importantly, it's yours
Today, feedback is most often delivered within a performance review that is designed for and by the company. Kaizen is built for people. Individuals identify and optimize for their own attributes and goals. They carry their private Kaizen observations and data from project to project or job to job.
It's in rhythm
Current tools require learning and onboarding into bulky HR systems. Kaizen sources data from the new ways we work, like Slack, Teams, Google Calendar, GitLab and Asana.
In most companies, feedback occurs once or twice per year. Kaizen captures feedback right away — smartly nudging for feedback upon project wrap-up, code merging, or meeting conclusion, and delivering it continuously.