Mirror, Mirror on the Wall . . .
Recently I conducted a poll asking people their experiences with taking 360 assessments. This, of course, is a process where feedback is collected and delivered to an individual to provide insights about his/her strengths and improvements areas. The 360 label refers to collecting feedback from individuals (full-circle)–meaning a person’s boss, direct reports, peers and also the individual’s self-perception. Tips on some critical success factors are included at the end of this article.
The poll question was: “How have you responded to 360 feedback in your most recent experience with it?”
216 people voted with 46 comments added–many with strong feelings! Click on the link to see the demographic differences and the wide range of comments. http://linkd.in/fBmYv8
Overall . . . 360 assessments add tremendous value! A whopping 62% said they took action based on their results–in fact they agreed that they made a positive change as a result of the feedback.
Only 6% said they did nothing with the feedback.
Sample comments include: (Positive comments in green, negative comments in red.)
- Gained great insight
- Strengthened my strengths and closed gaps on improvement areas
- The feedback was a great gift and highlighted opportunities that might otherwise have been missed
- Very valuable in my leadership development
- My first time was quite a shocker. I found big gaps between my self-image and what others thought of me. I worked on some of the finer points and couldn’t wait to get that next 360 feedback!
- A great development tool
- 360 verbal interview is a critical element of all my coaching and usually the richest input to behavioral change
- I’ve seen it done poorly and it’s a disaster
- I have definitely been in an environment where the use of 360 tools just landed on people and had not been explained . . . one woman panicked because she thought it would be used to justify firing her.
- Not useful when there is tension and politics within an organization
- One experience was when results were linked to the bonus payments–that was a disastrous move! I would not recommend any organization using it until they have a trust culture in place.
- I hate the anonymity and vagueness of the 360
Bottom line? 360 assessments can be a powerful tool for development. When considering its use keep the following recommendations in the forefront:
- The 360 process should be used for developmental purposes–not for discipline or evaluation. While some organizations incorporate a 360 into their performance management system, this is a tricky and complex process.
- The raters should know the person being rated–ideally having worked or interacted with the individual for at least one year (one – three years in some studies is considered ideal)
- The process should honor and ensure confidentiality and anonymity. Without this, trust is eroded and the raters will not likely provide an honest, accurate rating.
- Questions need to be well-written and linked to the job competencies related to the job being rated.
- Communication is key! Everyone involved needs to know why the process is being used, what to expect and how the results will be communicated and used.
- Use a 3rd party–an experienced coach or consultant can provide that neutral role that will ensure confidentiality. Additionally an experienced professional will partner with the person receiving feedback to help interpret the feedback and create a plan to take positive action!
- A well-crafted development plan will allow the 360 recipient to focus on two to three areas for improvement. The development plan should include measurable, specific goals that are aligned with the organization’s strategy and directly target the areas highlighted in the 360 feedback. Sharing the development plan with his/her boss will strengthen the support needed to accomplish the goals.
- Consider a follow-up 360 six to 12 months after the development plan is in full swing. This will allow the individual to realize success and hold him/her accountable for improved results.
For more information, contact Kathy Pennell Cooperman, 720-542-3324, firstname.lastname@example.org.