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Submitted by cwatine on


Do you have a definition of "systemic feedback" (compared to "Feedback") ? I don't get it clear.

Many thanks.


TomW's picture
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In the "Late Stage" coaching podcasts, M&M referred to systemic feedback as feedback that addresses a more on-going problem that a person has received feedback on several times before yet they still engage in the ineffective behavior.

It has the added weight of saying that not only has the person not corrected the original issue, they also shown themselves unwilling or unable to to follow through on the actions they committed to in earlier feedback.

cwatine's picture
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Ok, I think I get it now.
Maybe it was a translation issue : the French word"systèmique" means you have to consider the whole environement, team or family (like in the Palo Alto school).

Thank you


drinkcoffee's picture

Bonjour Cédric,

To me "systemic feedback" is "meta"-feedback. In other words, you are giving the person feedback about their response (or lack thereof) to the feedback process.

Méta-rétroaction, perhaps? Or, rétroaction de rétroaction? My French is a bit rusty.

- Bill

cwatine's picture
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Excellent !

I would say : "rétroaction sur la rétroaction".

But I don't use this term : "rétroaction" litterally means "action in return".
This is not Feedback. Feedback is more "information in return".

So I would say : "retour d'information". Or in that case :"retour d'information sur ce que tu fais du retour d'information" ("feedback about what your are doing of my feedback") !!!

And i'll get another aspirin.

gernot's picture

I think that "systemic" feedback is not so far away from the french word.
In both languages it oriiginates from the greec word.

And that means that you "alter the flight height" a little bit to watch the whole system.

Meta is also just a higher altitude, but it usually means just one level higher.

So its no contradiction, but just adjusting the height from which you observe the case.

cwatine's picture
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Doen't meta also mean (inside or about) ? Like a meta communication is a communication about the communication, or a meta message is a message about the message ?

Mark's picture
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Systemic feedback is USUALLY to address repeated failures to change behavior. In most cases, we recommend that the feedback be about the direct's repeated commitment (step 4) to change, followed by not doing so.

The beauty of it is this: now we're no longer talking about the original issue, we're talking about a lack of ability (or more likely willingness) to change. This means there is likely less defensiveness about the original behavior. PLUS, the ramifications of a failure to change (this is surely required everywhere) are much bigger, than say, being late.


If someone is late, we give them that feedback. Again they're late, same feedback, no change in tone, no big deal. Maybe it happens 6-7-10 times. At some point, you begin to feel that they don't get it (this happens at different times for different directs and different managers, though TWO is too FEW!).

Now we say, "when you repeatedly commit to changing, and then you don't change, that worries me. It makes me wonder if you're comfortable with change, it makes me think you're not willing to accept feedback..and both of these things are required here. What can you do differently?"

Creates a completely different conversation.


cwatine's picture
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Thanks. I get it now.