How to Create and Present Excellent OD Feedback Reports and Help Clients Understand the Big Picture
Feedback reports are important to master for OD professionals because the quality and delivery of the report can determine the future course of an OD client engagement. A well-prepared and superbly delivered feedback report, invites greater engagement by the client and sets the stage for easier transfer of ownership of the project.
Once credibility is established through a good feedback report, the client becomes more receptive to moving ahead with the process of change within the organization. This article talks about how a feedback report should be prepared and presented to the client.
How to Prepare a Feedback Report
- Prepare feedback in the form of a clear and concise written report. Consultant interpretations and the input gathered from within the organization need to be clearly separated to identify opinion from fact.
2. Develop a brief overview of the study, why it was conducted, who was involved, and the outcomes and recommendations for next steps.
- Structure the report so that all essential information is covered. Structural elements of a feedback report are given below:
- Title Page (name of the organization being researched; date)
- Table of Contents
- Executive Summary (one-page concise overview of findings and recommendations)
- Purpose of the Report (type of research and decisions aided by the findings of the data analysis, decision maker(s) etc.)
- Background about the Organization and the Product/Service/Program that is being researched
- Organization/Program Description/History
- Product/Service/Program Description (the one being researched)
- Overall Evaluation Goals (such as the questions answered by the research)
- Types of data/information that were collected
- How data/information were collected e.g. instruments used
- How data/information were analyzed
- Limitations of the evaluation (how to use the findings/conclusions and cautions around these)
- Interpretations and Conclusions (from analysis of the data/information)
- Recommendations (regarding the decisions that must be made about the product/service/program) and next steps
- Summarize the data found in the diagnostic phase and identify the actions needed. In addition to the structure, the OD Consultant should also pay attention to the contents of the feedback report and determine how the data should be displayed to the client. The use of graphics is greatly encouraged to depict differences or main themes.
5. Focus on issues such as gaps, differences among groups, essential areas that need to be addressed, organizational challenges, and critical information that must be shared.
6, Identify who will receive the report. The full confidential report will be given to the client and a brief executive summary needs to be shared with senior leaders within the organization.
7. Anticipate and identify potential client emotional responses and prepare a plan to facilitate complex emotional patterns.
8. Partner with the client to plan and prepare for the feedback session. The consultant usually acts as the facilitator for the meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to provide a summary of the data analysis and gain consensus around the outcomes and next steps.
Facilitating/ Presenting the Feedback Session
- Provide introduction, agenda, grounds rules, parking lot, and information about your role during the process at the beginning of the facilitation process.
- Ask participants about their expectations regarding the meeting.
- Explain what will be covered in the meeting.
- Give the background and objectives of the feedback.
- Explain how the data was collected.
- Share the data. Begin with the diagnostic model graphic, show and review the major findings. The Consultant should start with the positive data first and then show the opportunities for improvement. Any significant data findings must be shared.
- Move through each section of the data and report the findings. Note any discrepancies and gaps. During the reporting process, the OD professional needs to be aware of basic facilitation skills and delivery methods which include the appropriate use of body language and keeping control of the meeting. Understanding of cultural values of audience and implementing those will help in getting the message across more easily to the client.
- During this stage, the Consultant should only allow questions for clarity. Clients need to know that they will be allowed to review and discuss the data as a group.
- After presenting the data, Consultants should divide the audience into smaller groups so that the groups can discuss the findings among themselves. The Consultant should ask the group members whether they agree or disagree about findings and whether they have additional information to share with everyone.
- The Consultant should objectively present observations and recommendations about the analysis.
- After this step, the Consultant should ask the groups if they agree with the Consultant’s conclusions. Any observations or concerns should be noted and addressed as soon as possible.
- After the discussion on data findings and analysis, the Consultant should ask the client whether all requirements have been satisfied to merit moving onto the next step of creating action plan and address the priorities identified in the data analysis. This is an important call to action that helps in leading to the next part of the OD professional’s engagement with the client.
- After the meeting, the Consultant sends out notes, schedules the action planning session, and begins preparing for it.
OD professionals should always pay a high degree of attention the preparation and delivery of their feedback reports as this is one part of the process where the Consultant has a limited time to make a case and might be unable to recreate the opportunity if the initial presentation is inadequate.
By following the above steps and methods, the OD Consultant can make great strides towards helping the client understand the big picture, enhancing credibility, implementing the necessary recommendations which will be of benefit to the client, and moving to the action planning process.
Compiled by Warda Zaman, PHR. Source: Institute of Organization Development (ODCC) Manual