Handling Negative Feedback from Business Partners: An FP&A Checklist

Table of Contents

Hey there,

Today’s post is on how to handle negative feedback.

Because guess what?

You will receive negative feedback in your FP&A career. 😲

This post will teach you two things:

  1. Why all feedback, even the negative kind, is important
  2. How to use negative feedback to get promoted

Let’s be honest, receiving negative feedback is ZERO fun.

However, when processed a certain way it can unleash career potential.

Let’s dive in.

Why is the business partner relationship important?

You are an FP&A guru and keeper of the financial scoreboard.

Not just today’s score, but what the future score will be.

Think basketball.🏀

You know how many rebounds, steals, assists, and points it took to win your last game (aka quarterly results).

You also know what it will likely take to win future games from your profit forecast. (Read more on the topic here)

What you can’t do is rebound, steal, assist, or score.

That’s what players (aka business partners) do.

But guess what?

Without your financial scoreboard, players wouldn’t know what goals to achieve.

And without your players’ buy-in, your team isn’t going to listen to you and the game will be lost.

You need your business partners’ trust to execute and win.

This is why tight business partner relationships are so important.

Why is handling negative feedback important?

Have you ever been poked in the eye?

Well, negative feedback can feel just like that.

But unlike getting poked in the eye, negative feedback can be useful.

It’s an opportunity to improve your relationship with the person that poked you square in the pupil.

Why did they do such a thing?

There’s a reason, and you need to seek to understand it or they’ll do it again.

Or worse, they’ll keep their distance and you’ll lose that relationship for good.

This won’t be easy.

Take a deep breath and follow these steps.

What steps can you take to handle negative feedback?

Use these steps as a checklist when negative feedback first shows its ugly pointer finger.

Checklists are like GPS — they’ll guide you through the most complicated situations.

Trust the system and dive in.

✔️Listen actively and empathically

We warned you this would be hard.

You need to stand there, listen, and be respectful when receiving negative feedback.

Keep reminding yourself that negative feedback is a gift (that you’ll reap the benefits of someday).

Avoid lashing out and blaming them.

And don’t storm off, because they will find you and finish what they started.

✔️Acknowledge the feedback

We didn’t say it gets any easier.

You need to thank your business partner for the poke square in your pupil.

Yes, say thank you.

This can be done right away or a day or two after receiving it.

Don’t wait too long.

Mention you will take the negative feedback as a learning opportunity.

Keep it short and sweet for now.

The goal is to acknowledge the feedback and to share your appreciation.

✔️Take time to process the feedback

Now it’s time to process the feedback.

Spend the time reflecting.

In the process, it could cause you to get angry and behave irrationally.

Why did they say that? Wasn’t I doing a great job?

So how do you overcome this negative feeling?

Some people go for long runs.

Others blast Mariah Carey 1990’s hits for an hour (most definitely not me).

Find your own way to get all that negative emotion out of your system.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Long walks outside
  • Workout at the gym
  • Martial arts (our cofounders love BJJ)
  • Cooking
  • Any hobby of yours

The goal is to take a step back and not react irrationally.

Because the next steps are all about taking action and getting a promotion from this experience.

We’ve experienced this, and you can too.

✔️Identify the root cause

So what the heck happened back there?

Your business partner’s expectations weren’t met.

Was it driven by:

  • Miscommunication?
  • Different Expectations?
  • Misinterpretation?

You’d be surprised.

Sometimes, it can be something as simple as a missed email. 🤷‍♂️

Sometimes, it can be a bit more complex.

Whatever it is, find something you can work with and create an action plan.

✔️Create and communicate a plan

What can you do differently to avoid the same fate?

Start with your root cause.

Make a change that your business partner can buy into.

It could be things like:

  • Communicate more often
  • Communicate more effectively
  • Set clear expectations upfront

Remember, your business partner is trying to achieve a goal.

They want the company to grow and get promoted while doing it (we all do).

How can you change your approach to help them get promoted?

Communicate this plan with energy.

Your business partner will feed off of it.

And you’ll have a fresh start together.


This could be a victory lap or at least a big step towards progress.

Ask for feedback from your business partner after you make the changes.

Are things better?

This will help you constantly improve your new approach.

And it will show your business partner that you care.

You’ll also have the added bonus of developing a stronger working relationship.

Go, team!

Conclusion: Your career will rise from the ashes of negative feedback

You did it. You saved your business partner relationship.

It was no easy task and can be a humbling experience.

Your business partner is better off now because you helped them get promoted.

At the same time, your business partner will help you get promoted.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Just remember negative feedback isn’t the end.

It can be the start of supercharging your career.

Just follow the process:

✔️Listen actively and empathically

✔️Acknowledge the feedback

✔️Take time to process the feedback

✔️Identify the root cause

✔️Create and communicate a plan


By following these steps you’ll be on your way to growing your network, improving your skills, and getting that promotion you deserve.

How do you feel now? Ready to dominate the game of business partnering?

Let us know by replying here or emailing us. If there are specific topics you’d like us to cover as well, let us know!

Now go have fun making an impact on your company and your career!

Drew & Yarty

PS: This post is 100% human-made 

Related Posts

Scroll to Top