The 3 C’s Formula for Effective Feedback

Giving feedback can be difficult, especially if it is corrective. Feedback is essential if you want to see your team succeed. Any successful leader knows feedback is they key to growth. I have developed a feedback formula that I use each time I deliver feedback. I call it the 3 C’s of feedback.


  • Circumstance

When did it occur?

  • Conduct

What occurred?

  • Consequence

What was the impact?


Describe in detail the circumstance of your concern. Do not be vague, you want to be very specific. This will help to establish a clear idea of when the behavior last occurred.

Good example: “Ashley, yesterday during our morning huddle..”

Bad example: “Ashley, sometimes I notice..”


This is your opportunity to address the specific action that you are trying correct. The person on the receiving end should have a clear idea of their actions. Once again, you do not want to be vague, and be careful not to use judgmental language.

Good example: “you made an inappropriate comment about Albert’s weight..”

Bad example: “you make inappropriate remarks..”


What happened as a result of their actions? In other words, because of X, Y occurred. It is important to be able to tie the circumstance, and conduct into a consequence so the receiver can have a full understanding of the concern.

Good example: “As a result, Albert has filed an official complaint with HR, and asked not to work on days you are scheduled.”

Bad example: “that is not very nice.”

Putting it all together

As you can see, by utilizing the 3 C’s we can construct a feedback model that is clear, concise, and comprehensive. In the example below, you can see the 3 C’s formula is separated by color to show the different steps.

  • Circumstance
  • Conduct
  • Consequence

Good example: “Ashley, yesterday during our morning huddle, you made an inappropriate comment about Albert’s weight. As a result, Albert has filed an official complaint with HR, and asked, not to work on days you are scheduled.

Bad example: “Ashley, sometimes I notice you make inappropriate remarks and that is not very nice.”

What are some ways you deliver feedback? Do you avoid feedback or confrontation? If so, what are your reasons? Please leave a comment, and let’s get the conversation started!

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