Giving Feedback - Two Stars, One Wish

Posted on June 16, 2016 by Emer O'Donnell


In our last blog post on feedback we talked about how to elicit more feedback and avoid the feedback vacuum.

Now we share some insights into giving feedback. We have all experienced line managers who give poor feedback. They focus on the negative or what they call ‘constructive criticism’. This type of feedback is hard to digest, difficult to accept and generally not actionable.

When building a high performing team and maximizing our business potential we need to find a way to give feedback that results in change.

So what does good feedback look like? How can we give better, truly constructive feedback to peers and colleagues? We’ve all experienced good feedback at some point. Feedback that we truly took on board and took action on. But is there a model? Is there a formula for good feedback?

Well, it turns out my seven year old daughter has the answer! We were in the car recently and she asked me if I had ever played ‘Two stars, one wish” in school? I said I'd never heard of it and asked her to tell me more.

This ‘game’ involves pairing up with another student. Each writes a story and then gives it to the other to read. They then give each other feedback - using the model - Two stars, one wish.

  • Two stars – here are two things I really like about your story
  • One wish – one thing I wish you would change/improve

I was shocked! These kids are practicing giving truly amazing feedback to each other and they love this ‘game’. They focus on the positive and suggest one change – it’s fantastic.

So the next time you are giving feedback to a colleague remember - Two stars, one wish – it could catch on!

Posted in: Feedback