360 degree feedback, organizational trust, change & sustainability
Best Practice in 360 Degree Feedback: No. 14 - a useful profile
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Thursday, 28 February 2008
Is it so much to hope for that a 360 feedback profile will be useful, that the managers who are given it will be able to do something with it? If it isn't, it could be that your ROI will be negative!

The profile you receive must give clear guidance as to what you should do. For this to be true, the questions have to be simple and the scale clear, and the presentation must be very easy to understand. A difficult complicated layout can either put the managers off or it can get them deeply engrossed in what it all means - forgetting what it really does mean! Worse still, if a manager interprets it incorrectly, they may take the wrong action because they get the impression that they are doing better than they are - or worse than they are.

If the questions, scale and layout are well constructed (and if the questions are the right ones) then you have something with practical value. Most managers will do their best to make use of it.

There is, of course, another factor: how closely can the results express the thoughts and feelings of those responding? The only way to answer this is to go back to those who filled in the questionnaires and ask them "Why did you answer that way?" This provides another dimension of feedback that is unobtainable in any other way. If, in addition, the team are involved in generating the solutions and the action plans, then you have Leaderskill's facilitated feedback. And if you use that with the carefully crafted Leader/Manager Model - well, that's 360 Facilitated®.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 14:06   1 comments
It's about trust
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Thursday, 21 February 2008
"The need for trust in relationships is gaining global prominence. It is the new business imperative" says Vanessa Hall, the Australian guru of Trust. Years of research with CEOs and others across the country have given Vanessa's company Entente Consulting, a powerful insight into what trust does in organisations and relationships, what we can do to build it, and what happens if we lose it.

From trust we can build performance and build business. With low trust, performance is always a problem. When we lose trust, performance goes through the floor.

Trust impacts every area of the organisation - producing your product or service, selling it, servicing your customers. There is no area within the organisation or outside it (how the public regards you and your product) that is not affected.

Vanessa has created a simple and memorable trust model that diagnoses trust in your organisation and identifies the critical areas. She has developed both an interactive model and the Entente Trust Survey. She says that:

"If you are not always seeking to build trust, you may be losing it".

It's hard to recover lost trust, sometimes it's impossible.

Vanessa is giving a short talk to the International Society for Performance Improvment (ISPI, Sydney Chapter) on Tues 26 Feb at 5.30 for 6pm, at Pollock Learning Alliance. This is a great opportunity to meet the lady who leads the trust movement in Australia. All questions answered. For details contact Leaderskill Group.

Responding to growing demand, Entente is also offering an extra training workshop 26-27 (& 28) March for corporate clients, with add-on Accreditation for Consultants wishing to work with the Entente Model.

As to Leaderskill Group, we have trust relationships and guaranteed results with all our clients and consultants - most of whom we have worked with for years. Let's build a world where trust is the norm!

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posted by Dr Ron @ 12:13   0 comments
Ten commonest mistakes for 2020
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Monday, 11 February 2008
Just when Prime Minster Rudd is announcing his Australia 2020 Conference and the 1000 brightest minds (we hope) are preparing to at last think about our future, Prof. Stuart Hill has sketched out the Ten Commonest Mistakes that we make when creating such initiatives. It's good reading - if controversial:

Ten Common ‘Mistakes’ to Avoid, and ‘Needs’ to Meet, when Seeking to Create a Better World

Hill, a Social Ecologist, begins by pointing out that this is a holistic approach and therefore you can expect that the areas overlap and are highly interactive and interrelated. His 10 points are:

1. Getting the usual ‘experts’ together, to then plan for a better future. This always leads to tinkering with existing (flawed) plans, and excludes those most affected by such plans.

NEED: involve mostly ‘different’ people and start by focusing not on plans, but on values, beliefs, worldviews, paradigms – then feelings and passions – then, emergent from these, hopes, dreams, visions, imaginings, and creative thoughts – only then can ‘design/redesign-based plans’ (that can proactively enable systems [structures and processes] that meet long-term to short-term, and broad to specific, goals, AND that make systems as ‘problem-proof’ as possible) be enabled to emerge; and then critically analyse, integrate, and flesh these out, etc – detailing participatory opportunities, responsibilities, time lines, resource and support needs, means for monitoring outcomes, tracking progress, and for ongoing redesigning and fine tuning.

2. Taking problem-solving (back-end, reactive/responsive, curative) approaches. These tend to focus on symptom management and neglect the need to address the underlying maldesign and mismanagement roots of the problems. They typically over-focus on measuring problems (a prime strategy for postponing action - by those who benefit from the status quo), and on efficiency and substitution strategies (eg, improved application of pesticide and on finding less disruptive [but still purchased] substitutes, such as biological controls and genetically modified organisms – same story in other areas, such as medicine and energy).

NEED: to redesign existing systems (and design new systems) to make them as problem-proof as possible; and to enable effective change from these flawed/defective systems to significantly more improved ones.

3. Getting stuck in activities that are ‘pathologically’ designed to postpone (feared) change. These include particularly measuring problems (‘monitoring our extinction!), endless collection of data (often ‘justified’ by cries of the need for ‘evidence-based approaches’), hearings, committee meetings, report-writing, etc – most of which have NO follow-through, and usually only lead to more of the same.

NEED: postponing pathologies must be recognised, exposed for what they are, addressed and contradicted by taking responsible, timely, appropriate, collaborative action. Certainly access to relevant data are important for making responsible decisions. Often, however, adequate data are already available from other places, in other languages etc. Globally, billions of dollars are wasted annually unnecessarily repeating studies in new locations or with mischievous intentions (often related to perceived threats to existing commercial advantage), when the data for responsible decision-making are already available.

4. Trying to solve problems within the discipline or area responsible for creating them, or with multidisciplinary teams of selected experts/authorities from favoured disciplines, with others excluded.

NEED: genuine transdisciplinary and trans-competency and trans–experience teams, able to access disciplinary and specialised knowledge as appropriate. Competencies relating to holistic approaches to design, sustainability, wellbeing, and effective change processes, in particular, need to be included in the teams.

5. Patriarchal (them doing things to/for us, and us doing things to/for them) and ‘driven’ do-good approaches are rarely exactly what is needed. They are generally not sustained or embraced by those being ‘helped’, and they often have some negative unexpected consequences.

NEED: inclusion of those most affected by the proposed improvements as primary collaborators in the change process, from beginning to end. This enables ownership, relevance, achievability, ongoing improvement and openness to unforseen/surprise benefits.

6. Planning ‘Olympic/mega-scale’, heroic initiatives (from hearings to projects) with no follow-through or provision for ongoing support (more than just funding).

NEED: diverse, mutually supportive, do-able initiatives that have long-term support and consideration of opportunities for ongoing improvement and learning our ways forward collaboratively towards improved futures.

7. Over focus on knowledge and data, and neglect of wisdom and experience (much of which cannot be supported by data, and involves working with the ‘unknown’ – the majority of what is – not just the limited ‘known’); often in ways that rely on intuition and gut feelings etc.

NEED: we need to be much better at recognising, valuing and involving the wisest and most experienced in our society, and not so obsessed with ‘cleverness’. Whereas the former have competencies that enable them to work with both the ‘unknown’ and ‘know’, the latter are largely limited to working with the miniscule ‘known’.

8. Over focus on ‘productivity’, profit and quick dramatic results – this predictably leads to burn-out, only short-term, limited benefits, and often unexpected disbenefits (new problems).

NEED: we need to focus much more on ‘maintenance’, caring for one another (other species and the environment), including prioritising time and resources for this, celebration, venting feelings, and ‘healing’ sessions, etc. These activities need to be ‘equally’ the focus of the initiative. In some senses, the latter may be regarded as emergent from, and a product of, the former.

9. Homogenisation tendencies tend to result in the construction of favoured ‘norms’ (for people, structures, processes, etc), failure to consider diversity, in-groups and out-groups, inclusion and exclusion, and failure to benefit from the creativity that resides at the margins and in the borderlands of society.

NEED: openness to appreciation of the value of hererogeneity and ‘functional’ diversity within all systems, with its opportunities for synergy, mutualism, lateral thinking, extension beyond the usual competencies, relevance to needs and possibilities, a sense of inclusion, ownership, and a sense of place, etc.

10. Neglect, or only token involvement, of the arts, and over focus on the sciences, technologies, business, politics, the professions, the media, and the other major institutions within our society. As a result, the arts are poorly supported, regarded as a luxury or optional extra, an afterthought, or even irrelevant.

NEED: recognition of the arts, in its broadest sense, as being an essential part of both the foundation and means for implementation of all efforts to achieve genuine and sustainable improvement.

Professor Stuart B. Hill, Foundation Chair of Social Ecology , School of Education
University of Western Sydney (Kingswood Campus), NSW AUSTRALIA
Phone: +61 2-4736-0799; email: Website (

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:51   1 comments
Earth Hour passtimes go Global
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Friday, 8 February 2008
Earth Hour comes round again - on 29 March 2008. It's a new passtime in Sydney where it originated last year and citizens have devised all kinds of ways to spend a low energy hour - candle light picnics and dinners, games in the dark, even dancing in the dark. The Dances of Universal Peace have comes up with an evening of spiritual dancing in the park. It's open to everyone, easy to join in, and will be held at Berry Island Reserve, Shirley Rd, Wollstonecraft on Sydney's North Shore, from 6 to 9pm. As you approach, you will be guided by the sound of drums, guitar and perhaps other instruments, with singing and spiritual phrases from many of the world's religions. The focus will be on peace.

For more information email or phone 0417 285 627.

Families are particularly welcome - yes, children and youngsters love the Dances, too!

Easy to get there by train, bus or car.

Earth Hour will be celebrated internationally, this time around. If you're in one of the other cities, we will be watching to see how you go - that includes: Chicago, Copenhagen, Tel Aviv, Toronto - and who knows where else people will hear of this and take their ever greater steps towards a low energy, low polluting, low carbon world?

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posted by Dr Ron @ 22:13   0 comments
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