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Objective Feedback

One of the hardest but most important parts of successful treatment, employment, and relationships is communication. How we communicate with each other says a lot about who we are and what we value.

ABA values objectivity. One of the hallmarks of a good ABA program is objective feedback – being able to say to someone “this was the goal and here is how you performed”.

There are so many cultural and personal learned behaviors that make giving and receiving objective feedback stressful for the majority of people which is one of the reasons its often so hard to find.

The value of objective feedback however is the same value a compass or a yardstick has for us. It can guide us and help us measure our progress.

Objective feedback has the following elements.

1: It starts with agreeing on metrics. What is important to be measured? How should it be measured? This goes back to the basic principles of ABA. You first need objective definitions of behavior to give feedback on.

2: Feedback (especially professional feedback) shouldn’t have qualifiers, judgement statements, or modifiers. It shouldn’t have passion. It should be as direct as commenting on the performance of a tool. “The goal for this client was to transfer skills to the parent by holding skills 2 family training sessions per month. You completed 1 session this month.”

3: It should be actionable. When you hear good feedback you should be able to act on it. When someone says “you aren’t doing your job” what can you do with that? When you hear “you have been 20 minutes late for the last 3 meetings” there is no question what needs to happen next.

The last part to giving feedback is giving it to yourself. Ask yourself “what did I want to accomplish with this feedback? Did I accomplish it?” The point of feedback is to help the people you are communicating with grow personally and professionally. Is what you’re doing accomplishing that? If you aren’t sure run the steps above and have a talk with yourself.

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