Feedback has become the supposed panacea for change, particularly in organisations: appraisal interviews, 360-degree feedbacks, audits, assessment centres, employee surveys etc. This is understandable, because this sort of formalised and one-sided feedback is easy to organise, and the results can be presented in an organisation-friendly way. As long as the recipients of the feedback also have the inner freedom to accept this feedback (guiding process openness!), this is also effective: “Oh, I had no idea how much the employees fear me! I will have to do something about that!” Therefore, someone now acts upon something which, until this point in time, he was unaware of. The blind spot becomes smaller.
However, this step, and this is what matters to us here, is not sufficient. The feedback must also ‘be able to’ be processed on the level of self-perception, self-expression, acceptance and understanding. Otherwise, the often-observed situation is that the recipient hears the feedback again and again, just like all the times before, and yet knows that with the best will in the world he will not be able to bring about a change in behaviour. Unconscious and powerful forces ensure that the indicated behaviour will be maintained, because it has important (unconscious) functions (such as: The employees’ fear protects the manager from having his inferiority complex exposed). As long as this is not consciously revealed, decoded, experienced and accepted, there is usually little chance that something will change as a result of feedback alone. Therefore, it requires a comprehensive approach, such as in this metatheoretical concept, so that the client can become aware of where he, himself, is putting ‘a brake’ on change.