Do they know how well they are doing now?

In other words, do they receive feedback.  Many performance problems result from poor or non-existent feedback systems.

Feedback is information generated by a system to allow a system to regulate itself.  We are all familiar with a feedback mechanism--we have one in our homes:  a thermostat. It senses the temperature and, based on that, regulates our heating and air conditioning.

It doesn't tell the furnace it's bad, threaten to dock its pay, or send it for remedial training.  It simply passes on information.  And that illustrates what feedback is not:  it's not coaching, it's not discipline, it's not evaluation.  It's simply information.  

In the context of a human performance system, it's information that performers need to do adjust how they are doing their jobs and which enables them to adjust their performance without further intervention.

Furthermore, the feedback must be in a form that is relevant to and usable by the performer. In many cases it is not: performers are flooded with data, but the data is not information:  it does not inform them. It confuses them, overwhelms them, or infuriates them, and consequently they disregard it.

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CopyrightCopyright 1997, 2001 Frank W. Bell, Jr.

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