Giving Feedback for Impact After Receipt (IAR)

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This week’s tip is about giving feedback that has an ongoing impact on someone’s life or professional development. Giving feedback is a gift. Yes, I know that phrase is often about receiving feedback — but think about it. As a feedback giver, you have the immense honor of shaping the direction of a person’s improvement, even their entire career.

As that last part should have suggested, giving feedback is also an immense responsibility. As such, it can be helpful, especially when preparing to give feedback in a planned feedback session, to think into the future about not only how you hope this feedback will land but also what the feedback receiver may be able to do with it.

Abstract psychedelic painting shows a woman catching a football
Source: Cameron Conaway. Image created using Magic Media by Canva

I think about this as Impact After Receipt (IAR). It’s a concept I came up with that is inspired by the NFL metric of Yards After Catch (YAC). As it sounds, this metric is about how many yards a football receiver gets after they’ve caught the pass.

While it can be easy to think about this as purely the receiver’s speed or skill in outmaneuvering those trying to make a tackle, many other elements are at work here. One element involves the quarterback, who had to throw a pass in such a way that the receiver has a chance to do something with it. Often, this means the pass was thrown not to where the receiver is but to some combination of where they are going and where they might be able to go.

So think about that the next time you step into a feedback conversation. Ask yourself: What might the Impact After Receipt be of this one? Depending on context and many other factors, not all feedback you give needs to have a high IAR, but as a feedback giver you should try to bring awareness to those moments when you have the chance for IAR.

You might think to yourself:

If, years from now, the feedback receiver were to take some kind of Likert scale based on what I’m about to share, how might they respond to the following question?

The feedback I received today positively shaped my professional development.

A Likert scale showing, from left to right, Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree.

Or we could drill down into specifics with a comment like:

The feedback I received improved how I do / how I think about doing X, Y, Z.

Ultimately, thinking about Impact After Receipt is an act of care. It helps us bring greater thoughtfulness to how we give. After all, for feedback to be a great gift for the receiver, it should be a gift that provides ongoing value.


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