Plus-Delta Feedback

Feedback that begins with an appreciation (plus or +) makes any subsequent suggestion for change (delta or Δ) more likely to be heard and taken up. It also has an effect on our giving of such feedback, namely, to shift us away from being consumers or critics and towards seeing ourselves as collaborators or supporters of the ongoing development of the recipient of our feedback.

Plus-Delta Feedback can be completed quickly—on sheets of paper or an online form—by each audience member for each Work-in-Progress Presentation. The range of appreciation and deltas diminishes the power of the instructor or any one person to dictate what needs improving (see “Horizontal connections” versus “Negotiate power and standards” in Reflective Practitioner Goals).

Plus-Delta Feedback can be given verbally and quickly—thus more regularly—at the end of sessions in a go-around or Closing Circle (Check-Out) in which each person contributes only one + item and one Δ item.

Plus-Delta Feedback can also be used for self-evaluation. For this you need a set of objectives and for each you state something you did well and some way to improve or develop. Paying attention to the things you appreciated (the pluses) makes it more likely that you will work on the things that need improving or changing (the deltas). Eventually, something that arose as a delta becomes a plus; then you are ready to bring new deltas into your set of objectives. (See think-piece on Creativity-in-Context.)