360 degree feedback, organizational trust, change & sustainability
360 feedback - Q&A - No. 1
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Tuesday, 19 June 2007

360 Facilitated® has been called the simplest way to bring about team and culture change and, for that reason, it causes us to rethink what we are about and raises many questions. We thought a Q&A section with real answers to real questions we have received could be useful, starting now.

Q: While the scale from 'Do less' to 'Do more' will give us an idea of what the staff or other respondents expect us to do, would it also tell us where the Manager is actually placed (as of now) on the 4 quadrants?

A: The scale does not really "place" the Manager except in the perception of the team (or peers) at a moment in time. Instead, the whole process is designed to get the manager to confront the reality of how they are perceived by others, and then engage in an open dialogue with the respondents. They can then overcome limitations and misunderstandings and improve together. The process brings out everyone's contribution and leads to action plans for all parties and learning as well.

I sympathise with your question because we are all so used to assessing/appraising managers. However, experience shows that assessing managers does not necessarily motivate them to improve, it is often the opposite. Why? Because they may think the assessment is unfair (lacking in knowledge of what the manager is actually doing, or of what competencies they have), or it could be affected by an inexperienced team or by poor organizational procedures. Hence "360" programs have often caused a fair degree of disruption in organizations (for several years our company operated as 'Upward Feedback®', hoping to separate ourselves from this).

We take a different approach. We are saying: let’s put all our requirements on the table (including those that the manager has of the team) and work together to meet them. There will be learning for all in this process and at the end of the day we will have created a real team, working constructively and openly together.

The difference lies in the outcome you want. Is it just to be able to categorise managers - Who is good, and How good, for What? This is an important result and there are ways to achieve it, however, what we are aiming for here is real organizational, cultural and personal change. In an organization where communication is open, the high flyers can shine while those who are not willing or capable of improvement have nowhere to hide.

Finally, if a manager is unable to close the "gaps" found in partnership with their team then they must be held accountable. In practice, managers use their profile as a personal benchmark against which they can improve (assuming a degree of stability in the team).

There is a good case study on the website describing the change that takes place: "Act on the Feedback, then Measure the Impact", and the later brief report "360 Feedback - it's hard to imagine the company without it". These are the first two articles on the page and they describe the work of Dave Burton with Royal&SunAlliance in New Zealand over several years.

(to be continued)

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posted by Dr Ron @ 23:48  
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