360 degree feedback, organizational trust, change & sustainability
Pitfalls in 360 degree feedback: No. 3
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Monday, 30 April 2007
360 feedback carries a risk, it's scary. People don't like being judged, least of all by those they are supposed to be managing. If you start a 360 program at some mid or low level in the organisation, managers say (and rightly) "Why doesn't the boss do it? I'd like to tell him/her a thing or two".

Not starting at the top does not demonstrate leadership by the executives, but rather arrogance or fear. In addition, if you later try to run the program further up the ladder, what you get is "Oh, it's for them not us."

If you can't start at the top, at least start as high as you can, with the head of an autonomous division. Pitfall no. 3:

Not starting at the top, hence not demonstrating leadership and commitment to the program (and its continuation).

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posted by Dr Ron @ 08:39   0 comments
Who's a leader?
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Sunday, 29 April 2007
Here's a take on leadership that could be your inspiration for the day. Check out Bill Drayton

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posted by Dr Ron @ 12:32   0 comments
Leaders in UK
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Saturday, 28 April 2007
How are leaders faring in the UK?

"Bad leadership can create a toxic culture, lead to low staff morale and result in business failure, so how can HR nurture leaders to avoid letting talent go to waste? Natalie Cooper reports.

"UK business leaders are in crisis. The recent Richmond Events Leadership Report, which surveyed 500 senior directors of UK organisations, found that 43% felt that their leadership skills could be greatly improved. Only 2% believed they were good enough already and two-thirds said they experienced anxiety about their leadership abilities."

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posted by Dr Ron @ 18:18   0 comments
Ritalin free kids?
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Friday, 27 April 2007
Does this matter: there has been a 25 fold increase in prescription of Ritalin for our children 'diagnosed' as having ADHD in the last 15 years. If you don't want kids started on drugs try something else, maybe the DORE program - drug free treatment of ADHD and a lot of other 'learning difficulties'. Also, cut out the caffeinated colas, the colourings, the high sugar content, the game and TV horrors, and so on. Add in physical activity, good food, water, love, fun... Accelerated Learning in schools... Good luck.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 22:09   0 comments
Pitfalls in 360 degree feedback: No. 2
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Thursday, 26 April 2007
So you've defined your outcome. Isn't that enough, to know where you're going? Not if you're seen as a cost. Not if when you get there your boss says "Have we really come that far?" If you want to prove what your 360 feedback has achieved and so become an investment, with a payoff, then you must measure where you're starting from. In this way, your program can earn its keep - and more! This is another way of looking at Return On Investment (ROI): "What can you reasonably expect to achieve - and what will it cost us?" Pitfall no. 2:

Not measuring where you are now.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:21   0 comments
Pitfalls in 360 degree feedback: No. 1
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Wednesday, 25 April 2007
We have heard some of the results of poorly designed 360 feedback programs. They include loss of morale, managers leaving, revenge, disillusion, collusion ('peer shopping') to get good results, incomprehension, apathy, manager rebellion... "you couldn't make any use of it", "nothing happened as a result" and much more.

But what went wrong? Can you have a good 360?

At last count we identified 16 pitfalls in 360 programs. This is the first in the series. The intention is to get organisations to think seriously about what they want to achieve with 360 and how they should go about it. So here goes, Pitfall no. 1:

Not deciding at the outset the outcome that you want: how will your team and organisation be, look, think, feel, operate as a result of your investment in this program?

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posted by Dr Ron @ 08:35   0 comments
Earth Hour Wednesdays
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Tuesday, 24 April 2007
Follow-up: Earth Hour continues in Sydney on the first Weds of each month at 7.30pm. Next one is 2 May. A good way to keep us in mind of reducing energy consumption.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 22:45   0 comments
Trust in organizations
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Monday, 23 April 2007

Another way getting healthy organizational function (open, contributing, loyal, effective...) is checking the level of trust. Following on research with Australian CEOs, Entente Consulting has launched an initiative to survey trust in companies. Their results are not just surprising, they are useable - if you want to improve. And they have a brilliant graphic model to illustrate levels of trust.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 20:55   0 comments
The Model for all seasons
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Sunday, 22 April 2007
Peter Farey, doyen of upward feedback since 1974, in 1993 launched the first and it seems still the only holistic model of manager-team feedback:

The Leader/Manager Model

Each of the Leader/Manager questionnaires asks for feedback on a full range of behaviours in the areas of Leadership and Management, both People and Task. The questionnaires give as much importance to leadership as to management, and promote a language common to all. Any issue that a team or manager may want to discuss can emerge with this framework. For each item, it asks them what they require more or less of in order to be more successful. Anonymity ensures honesty and accuracy. The result is a profile of the team's perceptions of needs for improvement.

The questionnaire does not ask for judgments about the manager but asks only for feedback on team members' needs. The process is therefore non-threatening, avoids creating resistance, and leads directly to mutual problem solving.


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posted by Dr Ron @ 13:41   0 comments
Keen for green PR
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Saturday, 21 April 2007
Wind An increasing number of businesses are seeking the assistance of public relations firms to communicate their green credentials, The Age reports.

With both the public and younger staff members questioning companies about their environmental stance, green PR is a major growth area within the communications field.

Consultants say green PR isn't just about dishing out feel good stories; they warn that companies must tackle harder issues like water use, agriculture and air traffic emissions.

Businesses are also advised to be transparent. If they are not making progress in a particular area they should tell consumers why not and what they are doing about it.

Source: Australian Institute of Management (AIM) Qld & NT

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posted by Dr Ron @ 23:20   0 comments
For the Change Agent
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Friday, 20 April 2007
10 Principles of Change Management

  1. Address the “human side” systematically. Any significant transformation creates “people issues.”
  2. Start at the top. Because change is inherently unsettling for people at all levels of an organization… all eyes will turn to the CEO and the leadership team for strength, support, and direction.
  3. Involve every layer. As transformation programs progress from defining strategy and setting targets to design and implementation, they affect different levels.
  4. Make the formal case. Individuals are inherently rational and will question to what extent change is needed.
  5. Create ownership. Leaders of large change programs must overperform during the transformation and be the zealots who create a critical mass among the work force in favor of change. This requires from them more than mere buy-in.
  6. Communicate the message. Too often, change leaders make the mistake of believing that others understand the issues, feel the need to change, and see the new direction as clearly as they do.
  7. Assess the cultural landscape. Successful change programs pick up speed and intensity as they cascade down, making it critically important that leaders understand and account for culture and behaviors at each level.
  8. Address culture explicitly. Once the culture is understood, it should be addressed as thoroughly as any other area in a change program.
  9. Prepare for the unexpected. No change program goes completely according to plan.
  10. Speak to the individual. Change is both an institutional journey and a very personal one.
Abstracted from: Strategy + Business -- John Jones, DeAnne Aguirre, and Matthew Calderone

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posted by Dr Ron @ 13:45   0 comments
Happiness with the Dalai Lama
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Thursday, 19 April 2007

An event like no other

Everyone wants to be happy. So why is it that there is such little understanding of what causes us to be happy?

His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a faculty of expert speakers from Australia and overseas will explore the techniques for achieving peace and happiness at this ground breaking event – the 2nd International Conference on Happiness & Its Causes.

  • Two day conference featuring up to 50 leading minds from psychology, science, philosophy, and religion
  • Pre-conference workshop by best-selling author of The Art of Happiness, Dr Howard Cutler
  • Post conference workshops on Positive Psychology, Cognitive Therapy, meditation and more
Something for your planner.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 23:46   0 comments
Alphas rule!
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Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Alpha Male Syndrome By Kate Ludeman and Eddie Erlandson

Harvard Business Press

According to Ludeman and Erlandson, 'alpha' types of manager are strongly driven by visions of what they can achieve, regardless of practical realities. They say that:

" ranks in nearly all organizations are loaded with alpha types and most, although not all, are men. An alpha is "a person tending to assume a dominant role in social or professional situations, or one who is thought to possess the qualities and confidence for leadership."

The situation they create is what they call the alpha triangle, made up of:

"the alpha villain, the victimized colleagues and wounded direct reports, and the senior manager who chooses to ignore or enable highly productive alphas".

Their advice:

If you stop playing the part of victim or hero, the triangle collapses. And there's nothing like some unfiltered 360 degree feedback to jolt alphas into keeping their strengths in check and changing their ways before they're forced to change jobs or careers.

Source: Jay Rob

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posted by Dr Ron @ 12:11   0 comments
PS: Upward Feedback in Health Services
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Tuesday, 17 April 2007
PS: Upward Feedback has been operating for years in the several of the New South Wales Area Health Services. Very good feedback has been reported to date.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:58   2 comments
Upward Feedback and Dr Patel
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Monday, 16 April 2007
Australia Talks on Radio National today discusses how Dr Patel could have killed 17 (or many more) patients without anyone saying anything. Isn't this the ultimate justification for Upward Feedback? If such a system had been in place, nurses and others would have quickly given anonymous feedback on what was happening and the alarm would have been raised. Many people would still be alive and healthy. How many of us are working in organistions where raising issues is not welcomed? And yet open communication is the only way to meet safety and ethical standards, and hence to make a profit long-term. What about the ongoing problems in our Police Services - could they use Upward Feedback? Yes indeed!

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:34   0 comments
The Mirror Manager
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Sunday, 15 April 2007
Got this one from Dick McCann of TMS: The Mirror Manager - "I'll look into it".

And somewhere there is the Round Tuit for the manager who says "I'll take care of it when I get a Round Tuit".
Someone made up a poster of an ancient Druid round stone and sent it to the manager with the inscription: "Now you've got a Round Tuit"
Someone asked me "What's a Round Tuit". I'll answer that one when...

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:44   0 comments
The Micromanager
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Saturday, 14 April 2007
No, not a small manager - s/he is the one who looks over every shoulder, nudges every hand and guides every step. Hard to put up with, rather unproductive on the job. Believes they have a team of one member (them). Team facilitation is the sure treatment for this condition - especially when tied in with a style indicator such as the Team Management Profile or the Leader/Manager Type™. Why? Because the facilitation becomes a dialogue with the team about what it has to do and the manager doesn't have to.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 15:11   0 comments
Collaboration vs Competition
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Friday, 13 April 2007

MIRA, a German approach to collaboration that is spreading to Australia, New Zealand and the USA. puts relationship as primary and from this develops honesty and commitment. With feedback and learning, the loops are closed, the system for development is complete.

The central tenet of MIRA's OD work is the concept of creating an open centre that meets organisations where they are.

ISPI (International Society for Performance Improvement) in Sydney, Australia, is bringing a MIRA consultant to present an evening entitled "Collaboration vs Competition" - an alternative way of managing the links with/between suppliers and customers; collaborative Peer Groups; World Class Supply Chain Management; aligning processes, systems and people. There is a minimal charge, for details contact John Loty

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posted by Dr Ron @ 16:35   0 comments
Facilitation - Time & Cost Effective?
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Thursday, 12 April 2007
Isn’t it costly to bring team and manager together to resolve the issues that come up in a 360 feedback program? Well yes, you may be talking with twelve people rather than one but, if you are able to involve them all then you get:
  • the opportunity to appreciate the team and members’ specific efforts and so build morale and confidence
  • an understanding of the whole issue, not just the management perspective
  • a contribution of ideas from everyone, not just the manager
  • buy-in from everyone involved
  • commitment to the solution.

If you use team facilitation then you can look not just at the cost per manager but at the cost per person – much less!

Because the team session is learning on the job, it isn't time out of work, and it is not really a cost at all, other than for the facilitation. It is a necessary meeting to improve the job. It's more realistic to consider how low the time requirements and costs really are - compared with 360 appraisals.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 07:27   0 comments
Unis that promise green
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Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Quite remarkable: in 1990 at an international conference in Talloires, France, university administrators committed themselves to environmental sustainability in higher education. The Talloires Declaration (TD) is a ten-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach at colleges and universities. It has been signed by over 300 university presidents and chancellors in over 40 countries.

Initiative of the Association of University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF).

Next question: is it happening? Have you noticed it?
If you want to see the 2006 list of unis check this.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 22:21   0 comments
Environmental policy?
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Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Merino in Qld has a good example of an environmental policy which I believe they follow and they are prepared to promote environmental concerns generally. You may know their products under the name of SAFE. Does your organisation have a policy of this kind? Is it known? Is it followed?

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posted by Dr Ron @ 18:29   0 comments
Game theory in business - lighten up!
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Monday, 9 April 2007
"Yale professor Barry Nalebuff brought game theory from the ivory tower to the executive suite — and to his own thriving company, Honest Tea.

"Barry Nalebuff is a rare breed: a working economist who also runs a business. He made his name in academic circles with two related ideas. The first was the application of game theory to business strategy. The second was “co-opetition”: a strategic way for managers to work with rivals, balancing the tension between growing a pie together and competing to get the biggest piece. The theme tying together his academic work is the determination to apply game theory to ignite innovation and tackle real business problems — a practice he has pursued in consulting stints with Columbia Forest Products, Eli Lilly and Company, Johnson & Johnson, and General Electric, among many other companies. He is one of the enviable handful of “creativity consultants” corporate leaders bring in to shake up calcified thinking, tease out innovative solutions, or game out the possible permutations of a deal in the offing...

"Nowhere has Nalebuff’s creative and practical approach to economics been more deeply integrated into a company than in his own. Both literally and figuratively, Honest Tea puts Nalebuff’s theories on display. For starters, the labels of its lightly sweetened drinks — the products that launched Honest Tea — spell out the rationale for the sugar content, including a chart illustrating the decreasing marginal utility of sweeteners. This little chart educates tea drinkers in the Nalebuff Approach, in which solutions lie in examining problems from new perspectives and calling on economic theory to bolster the response. In other words, how can you get great taste without a lot of calories? Not by eliminating sugar, but by skimping on it. A little sugar adds taste (marginal utility), whereas a lot of sugar adds only calories (declining marginal utility). "
Quoted from Strategy+Business. Worth a visit. You can see him ride a one-wheel bicycle (??). Well, what can you call it?

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posted by Dr Ron @ 10:48   0 comments
Is your integrity at risk?
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Sunday, 8 April 2007
Integrity can be a slippery road. Elizabeth Doty describes her very personal experience which is important because it's not uncommon - perhaps all too common. She writes:

"... As companies demand greater levels of productivity and commitment in an environment characterized by fierce corporate politics and the relentless pursuit of shareholder value, many managers and employees routinely grapple with predicaments that go straight to the question of personal integrity." Read it all.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 19:03   0 comments
Is it feedback or appraisal you want?
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Saturday, 7 April 2007
The wave of 360 degree appraisal sweeping through organizations is intended to give a more rounded view of performance. But how do managers feel when appraised by their staff - or by their peers? Using appraisal to drive performance has not been entirely successful – neither in the traditional downward form nor in the more recent 360 versions. Is there a better way? Forget appraisal, try feedback - at least once!

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posted by Dr Ron @ 19:36   0 comments
True feedback
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Friday, 6 April 2007
How long have you known that telling staff your opinion about them doesn't work very well? But it's a bad habit, you got it from your dad or mum - remember? Or a sibling, a teacher... It's well ingrained. Did it work for you? Probably not. There is another way. Try telling your direct reports that you like something they do. And what you'd like more of. And then when that's all sunk in and been smiled over, maybe, if it really matters, what you'd like less of.

This is a true feedback approach and it results in:
  • Managers and Teams who work enthusiastically with you on the job
  • People who are open to dialogue and ready to exchange ideas for improvement
  • Managers and staff at all levels aligned towards the common purpose.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 19:44   0 comments
Four Crucial questions about Leadership
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Thursday, 5 April 2007
Putting a leadership development program together? BC Culture online mag. has some useful points to review.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 09:00   0 comments
Peer Feedback and the fly-on-the-wall manager
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Wednesday, 4 April 2007
Here’s a powerful way to do feedback between peers and associates in a 360 or Peer Feedback program, devised by Dave Burton. He likes to have everyone present in the room but asks each manager in turn to become the subject of discussion and to remain silent. This allows the manager the rare priviledge of hearing everyone talk about him/her. There are surprises. The process becomes a very meaningful and moving experience as peers are aware that everything they are saying is being silently heard by the other person.

In some cases, the team has asked Dave to find out the manager's reasons for a given action. Dave plays the intermediary to get the information, and then the subject returns to the 'fly-on-the-wall' position.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 09:55   0 comments
Employer of Choice
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Tuesday, 3 April 2007
Becoming an employer of choice is discussed by Alistair Rylatt in his latest Smarter Better Business. He says that programs lose momentum when the organisation fails to live up to its commitments. He adds:

"Trends such as the aging population and transformational change, place enormous pressures on all organisations to grow talent with a skillful mix of outstanding leadership, flexible work practices, classy learning and development, and clever job design."

More on this topic and how it links to feedback.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 07:38   0 comments
Earth Hour Achieves!
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Monday, 2 April 2007
From photo published by ABC News (see the full pic).

For a quick look at what Earth Hour achieved, check this.
The reduction in electricity over the hour went above 10% - equal to taking nearly 50,000 cars off the road! It was twice what was expected.
One small step for Sydney... More steps to come.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 18:31   0 comments
Who should improve - manager or team?
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Sunday, 1 April 2007
360 degree feedback programs are generally aimed at getting the manager, the person at the centre of the storm, to improve. But what about the team, the staff, the peer group that gave the feedback – shouldn’t they be part of the solution? Peter Farey, inventor of Upward Feedback® and Senior HR Development Manager with British Airways during its dramatic transition of the 1980s, saw it initially as a means to develop managers. Later, as he began to work with managers and their teams together, he observed the powerful impact the process had on everyone involved. In more recent years, the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) approach has been used to leverage the impact even further.

Here are some thoughts:
· With team facilitation, 360 feedback action plans should include everything that has to change, regardless of where the responsibility lies
· Many of the team actions require them to have greater delegation and involvement. That eases the burden on the manager and gets work done more efficiently – and actually reduces stress for the staff
· Even when the team has most to do, the manager can still find much to learn. Managers who delegate more may have some learning to do around that. Hence the critical importance of linking the feedback to a learning program for all, and of monitoring the results
· Finally: what is your best chance of changing culture – by focusing on changing individual managers, or by reaching everyone in a process of involvement, self-management and learning?

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posted by Dr Ron @ 17:09   0 comments
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