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Plussing: Feedback that works!

Posted by Julie • February 4, 2014 (Last modified June 2, 2022) • 2 min read

Recently I was asked how to effectively teach feedback strategies managers can use in order to give good feedback—feedback that will be well-received and encourage growth and innovation.

Have you heard of a strategy called Plussing, coined by Walt Disney? Plussing is a method of providing good feedback.  Walt taught Disney employees to use it effectively to help people grow and stretch their performance in amazing ways.

Here’s the gist of it.  Whatever someone has done: completed a project, conducted a meeting, written a report, etc., the plussing method requires every possible criticism to come with a plus, a better idea, attached. For example: “I like this part of ABC. Could it even be better if XYZ?”

Plussing is a way of finding the positive, then exploring possibilities which might make things even better.  According to Disney, this method of feedback recognized good work, then made it even better. It helped fuel creativity. He found that employees were open to it. Their initial efforts were recognized, and new things they may not have thought about helped them consider other possibilities.

How can we use plussing around Performance Appraisals for better manager/employee communication?

Examples of Plussing to give good feedback

Here are two situations where one might “plus.”

1. Helping a strong employee stretch a bit farther

2. Helping a struggling employee receive feedback in ways that encourage change

Either way, the end goal is growth.

Let’s consider how plussing might play out in the world of performance Appraisals. I’ll bet you’ll think of even better ways to “plus” these examples, and actually, that’s the point.  Think about how you might be able to “plus” different feedback scenarios.

Example:

A manager holds a new type of meeting for the first time. The meeting went well, or it was rough around the edges.  It doesn’t matter…but there’s room for improvement.

Situation: I was really excited to see you gather your team for that meeting. It helped them understand the new challenge. Would it be possible/do you think/have you thought about/could it be helpful to:

  • schedule meetings like this one at regular intervals?
  • shared some data so employees could see the effect of the change?
  • give the employees some time to offer feedback at the end?
  • book the conference room so you’d all be more comfortable?
  • type up an agenda so people could take some notes on it?
  • tell a story about how the change has already helped?

Any “plus” should be incremental. A logical consideration, a creative tweak, a next step, something within reach, something additive…something that honors the work already put it but perhaps gives it a another angle.

From Julie’s manager: Julie, I like the way you’ve written this article! Have you considered another post where you “plus” a competency on an appraisal to give another example our HR folks could use in their discussions?

🙂 Coming soon!

Make Work Matter.