Active Steps to Breakthrough /
Feedback process

Where to start? This series of posts is dedicated to supporting you in shaping your personal path inside your team and your organization. You will find short summarized development aspects from an individual to an organizational perspective, combined with practical examples. Additionally, we will provide with every chapter one tool and some reflective questions you can use for yourself and your team as a kick-start.

For more support, questions and exchanges on which conditions are needed to enable a true breakthrough for you and your team, take the chance and get in touch with us.

Feedback Process
& The SBI Model

Continuous development is one of the core principles that enable a breakthrough company to operate and succeed in a VUCA environment.

If in the first episode of this series we talked about how to develop yourself. Today we want to focus on how to implement and structure mutual development through feedback.

In this article, you will find concrete examples, best practices and a useful template that will help you to share clear, constructive and impactful feedback.

Companies Examples

First of all, we would like to share some examples of companies that are helping their people flourish through feedback.
Below you can find what and how Netflix, Cargill and Google implemented, structured and supported solid feedback processes.

Focus on Individual Goals

Innovation has always been the keyword and north star of Google.
The Mountain View company offers its employees time and resources to work on their individual projects and never implemented the traditional annual performance review.

Since its foundation, Google has always relied on a continuous feedback process and the setting of individual goals for its employees.
There is a close working relationship between managers and employees to set, re-adjust and achieve goals. This type of workflow permeates the company at every level. Larry Page himself (co-founder with Sergey Brin) writes and details the goals – personal and corporate – for each quarter.

Thanks to this mixture of feedback and goal planning, Google has always been one of the best companies to work for.
When employees are happy at work, 85% say they take more initiative, 73% collaborate better and almost half care more about their work.

Feedback as everyday Process

Cargill is a Minnesota-based food company with a very long history having been founded over 150 years ago. It currently employs more than 160.000 people worldwide. With such a large number of employees, this company had problems in actively engaging and motivating its employees.

A turning point came when Cargill structured an ‘Everyday Performance Management’ system. This process concretely included encouragement, feedback and motivation in the daily workplace conversations between employees and managers.

Continuous conversations, feedback and a future-oriented approach have become the cornerstones of this Minneapolis-based company.
The result of this change was an increase of over 40 per cent in the employees’ performance.

A further consideration is that almost 70 per cent of the employees stated that they felt appreciated for their work and contribution to the company and that they received helpful and positive feedback from their superiors.

Independent Thinking

Netflix is one of the leading companies in the TV streaming industry, but it is also famous for being one of the companies that place the feedback process at the centre of its corporate culture.
The company emphasises this element in the organisation’s five cultural beliefs, which set the tone for employees’ thinking and behaviour in the workplace. The first three of these five beliefs relate to communication and thinking:

  • encourage independent decision-making by employees
  • share information openly, broadly, and deliberately
  • [be] extraordinarily candid with each other

These guiding principles ensure that Netflix employees are encouraged to practice agency, creative problem solving and collaboration, and are not discouraged from expressing unique ideas or even disagreements.

By putting the diversity of thought at the centre, Netflix aims for greater transparency in the exchange of ideas and feedback to achieve high-level results.
A study by the Center for Talent Innovation found that organisations with high levels of intrinsic (or demographic) diversity and acquired diversity – in essence, diversity of thought – performed better than their competitors. In these organisations, employees were 45 per cent more likely to report that the company’s market share had increased over the previous year and 70 per cent more likely to report that the company had captured a new market.

atrain example / Feedback Process

At atrain, continuous individual development is one of the guiding principles of our way of working.
For this reason, all employees are encouraged to have continuous and informal 1:1 feedback conversations with each other.

Regular retrospectives are also conducted within each team and at the end of the various projects carried out as an additional opportunity to take stock and analyse the course taken.

Moreover, atrain also developed a more structured tool that aims at gathering 360 feedback for leaders on breakthrough dimensions, to help create further self-awareness in specific areas.

Below are the elements that characterise our internal feedback process

  • 1:1 feedback encouraged
  • Regular retrospectives
  • Agile Leadership Assessment (ALA tool)  example also proposed to customers
[Read: “2+2=5?” Or: What makes a great team]

We want to leave you a small nugget that can help you support each other’s development and growth, by sharing truly impactful, concrete and constructive feedback: the SBI™ model

feedback process sbi-model

(SBI)™ Model

Learning to give and ask for feedback can be an excellent starting point to build a trusted environment.
A work environment where people can easily grow and develop. By giving and asking for feedback, you and your colleagues can help each other to reflect on your behaviour and put in place development actions.

You can use the SBI™ Model as a framework to structure your feedback or derive guiding questions when asking for feedback about yourself.

This framework will help you to make your feedback specific and constructive.
Let’s explore its components.
When formulating feedback remember to include the following three elements:


What was the situation?
What were the tasks/goals?

Try to be as specific as possible to give the other person a concrete reference point.


What was said or done?

Try to stick to observable behaviours, something that was said or done, in order to make the feedback as clearly as possible.


What impact was generated?

It can be both positive and negative. Try to start by giving the other person some room for self-reflection.

Use the following guiding questions to kick-start your reflections

  • When did you have impactful feedback in the past? How was it? What made it impactful?
  • When and how did you last share honest feedback? How did you feel? What was your impact?
  • What, from what you learned here, could you apply to make your impact stronger while giving feedback?

(Written with the support and contribution of Ilaria Papola)

Keep in touch

Would you like to exchange your reflections and take further steps?