Boyling it Down: Using Feedback Frames to Guage Progress

Feedback Frames are used by facilitators like Bryan Boyle to get honest program evaluations and clear-cut priorities out of strategic planning workshops, collaboratively from both executives and participants. 

Here he shares one of his facilitation techniques…

Can you give an example of how you use Feedback Frames in your practice? 

Many of my clients re-engage me at the 1-2 year mark to do an update on their strategic planning. I use Feedback Frames in workshops for a quick way to recognize honest opinions on what progress has been achieved on previously identified issues and objectives. I then ask was there improvement on these goals since the last workshop?

I have prepared Feedback Frames with a customized scale (using the Word doc scale template), columns labelled as: 

  • little or no progress
  • modest progress
  • reasonable progress
  • strong progress
  • exceptional progress
  • (unsure about progress)

After they drop their tokens to record their secret votes on each of the goals, we remove the covers to reveal the results, and at a glance we see what has been happening. We hope to find that every token is in either the “strong progress” or “exceptional progress” column for each of the goals, but it doesn’t always happen.  

The Feedback Frames provide a reliable barometer to see where we need to focus next.  We can then discuss which goals are most important and what progress looks like.

voting on progress evaluation

Any tips on how you do your process?

I find it useful to do a Feedback Frames exercise over the morning, which can then inform our afternoon discussions. Also, I like to send participants up to the frames in groups (eg. by table) so they can take their time to write meaningful comments on the statement sheets, along with voting. During this time, other table groups are engaged in discussion activities thus momentum of the program is maintained.

feedback frames

How do Feedback Frames compare to other facilitation tools that you use in your work?

It takes a bit of planning but Feedback Frames are a fantastic supplement to my usual facilitation tools and techniques.

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Bryan Boyle is a Certified Professional Facilitator with credentials from the International Association of Facilitators and the Ontario Institute of Agrologists. He performs extensive group and individual training, strategic planning and community engagement.

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