Feedback or Feed-forward?

Some say it’s better to spend more time on planning in order to achieve better execution. That in a way, planning is more important than execution or that if you plan better, your execution would be better.

I believe they’re both interdependent and interconnected. If you have an exquisite plan but your execution is lacking precision and efficiency, the net outcome is less desirable. Vice versa is equally valid.

What could adjust the two parts so that they work seamlessly together is an analysis-adjustment process loop. After each phase of the planning-execution cycle, you need to assess the results and go back to the planning phase to see what you can adjust based on the data you now have.

The usual method is to look for and process the feedback. Analyze what didn’t work, where mistakes have been made and try to fix them. A lot of time, energy and resources are spent on this approach. Sometimes it works, most of the time it’s quite low in terms of efficiency.

Feed-forward is in a way an evolved level of the feedback. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, who’s fault it is and other negative-charged perspectives, you work on identifying new ways to improve what went well and could be better.

A type of advanced feed-forward process has been used for decades by Japanese manufacturers, among whom is the leading auto company Toyota. It’s called Kaizen and it was reportedly the main driver for the high quality of the products made in Japan. This type of approach for continuous improvement helped major companies dominate their industries and bring more quality to their products. But more on this in another article.

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I work with business owners and leaders to unleash their superpowers and achieve their ultimate potential with their teams. The results: streamlined operations, smooth team interfaces, happier people and increased profits.

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