360 degree feedback, organizational trust, change & sustainability
Raters vs. feedback
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Saturday, 2 June 2007
What feelings do managers have when their staff rate some of their behaviours at work? At the very best, there is some apprehension. At the worst, individual managers have shut themselves up in their office for weeks, sought revenge, or left the job. Not infrequently, the whole group of managers has decided “not to pursue” 360 further. The word “360” has been tarnished as a result.

What feelings do managers have when their staff suggest to them that they could do more or less of a full range of best practice management behaviours? Also some apprehension. Why? Because we often regard feedback as criticism (or praise) and fantasise about it if we don’t know the reason for it. Once we can sit down with the people who gave the feedback we can get past the fantasy and reach the facts.

And what are the facts? They are not necessarily the items that respondents ticked off on a questionnaire – that, for example, people could work better “if there were more regular team meetings”. No, but such a suggestion does trigger a lot of ideas about the real requirements of staff to do the job better. What gap in results are we aiming to close? What hinders it and how can we do it – and the answer you find may not lie in holding more meetings.

The approach that we are describing has been called an 'encounter with reality'. It brings everyone together to get past their usual judgements, perceptions and prejudices, and to work with the facts towards performance improvement. What almost always happens is an upwelling of enthusiasm for the job, and much greater goodwill between manager and team. And of course better performance. This is the approach known as 360 Facilitated®.

Measure people or measure needs?
With 360 Facilitated, we have made a sacrifice. We have given away the ability to stick numbers on people and say “this person rates 4 on our scale, as measured by staff, peers, etc.” We've gained the ability to say “We are able to measure how this team is performing in terms of outputs and performance indicators that have been agreed by all parties”. As a result, we create an open and enthusiastic environment with lower stress and greater productivity.

So do we really want to rate? Do we want to put numbers on people - or is our real intention to get results?

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:40  
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