Performance feedback: Three times positive

Performance feedback: In business always stay three times positive

 The Tipping Point is 3:1

The ratio of Positive to Negative Performance feedback has been found to be critical in the performance of individuals, and business teams (this concept based on over 85 years of research). This ratio has a direct impact on the success and dynamics of a team. Paying attention to the ratio of positive feedback (e.g. “that was a good idea”, you handled that client extremely well”) vs. negative feedback (e.g. “I am disappointed”, “what were you thinking?”) is essential.

Marcial Losada, PhD, an organisational psychologist, has studied the characteristics of high-performing business teams for years. He discovered the high performing teams maintain a positivity/negativity ratio of at least 3:1. Teams with these high ratios had higher profitability, better reviews, and customer satisfaction scores. Teams with a positivity/negativity ratio below 3:1 tended to be less engaged, receive lower customer scores, and were less profitable. When it comes to Performance feedback these numbers matter.

Dr. Losada’s research analysed whether individuals in the teams interactions were positive or negative, Self- or other-focused, question based, or defensive. These ratios were then related to the teams levels of profitability, customer satisfaction ratings, and evaluations by peers, superiors, and subordinates. Only Twenty-five percent of the teams met the criteria for high performance in these three critical areas, all of these high performing teams had Positivity Ratios above 3:1.Performance feedback: Make KPI's easier

This 3:1 ratio has been supported by the research done by Dr. Barbara Frederickson’s 25 years of behavioural science research which indicates that in order to flourish in life, a ratio of positive to negative interactions of greater than 3:1 is necessary. Similarly, psychologist John Gottman, PhD, a relationship expert, who found that in successful marriages positivity ratios were about 5:1.

The Tipping Point for teams, and individuals, is a Positivity Ratio of at least three times (3:1).  Interestingly, the upper limit is about 10:1. When the feedback is overly positive, with little or no suggestions for improvement, the impact is diluted. People have an innate desire to grow and develop and require suggestion for growth to achieve this. We all have blind spots and feedback helps us overcome our own personal limitations.

Performance feedback: In business always stay three times positive

If you want to learn how to create One Clear Message and keep your Performance feedback three times positive then contact us today … 


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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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