What’s the one things that must happen with 360 degree feedback?

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If you had to boil down the absolute essential of what will make a 360 degree feedback process succeed, it would probably be summed up by ‘action’.

360 degree feedback must prompt follow through and some action; be that on the part of the organisation using it to help shape their training & development priorities or to identify future talent for example; or on the part of the recipient, in them moving beyond raised self-awareness and taking responsibility to act upon the feedback in a productive way.

If it highlights strengths that they should deploy more readily, then they need to act on that feedback; or if points out development areas that are hindering performance then they should seek to remedy those.

Without action, 360 degree feedback doesn’t deliver on the promise and can become a ‘tick box’ exercise which will soon lose favour on all sides.


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Saving paper by going online – a tree was saved yesterday

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I was checking something today and noticed that we had roughly 1000 360 degree feedback appraisals completed yesterday in our system.   It made me think.  If those had to be sent out on paper, I’d guess they would be 5 pages long;  3-4 questionnaire pages including open format questions and some sort of instruction page.  So, 5000 pages.  That is a lot of paper.

The great god google states that it takes one tree to create 8,333.3 sheets of paper (the sort of accuracy that some of our competitors generate from their 360 reports!).  Add in some people looking at their reports online rather than printing them and a good dollop of performance appraisal forms that we had completed yesterday as well and I suspect it is a tree’s worth of paper.  Sort of interesting.


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Multi-lingual 360 degree feedback and multi-lingual performance appraisals

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We’ve been doing a lot of translating recently.  Both translating our 360 degree feeedback system and our performance appraisal service.  This reflects us gaining new clients that operate on a worldwide basis and also that some of our existing clients are broadening the reach of their system.

Generally our clients have English as their business language with much of their internal documents and meetings written or held in English.  So, why translate the 360 feedback and performance appraisal?

I certainly do not believe that they should be translated as a matter of course.  It adds a complexity and level of work that should only be undertaken where it is justified.  However, in many cases translating is beneficial.  Here’s why.

Most organisations spend a great deal of time gettiing the wording right on their competency framework, questionnaire or performance appraisal form.  Much time is spent getting the precise nuance right.  Where this is the case, often someone working outside of their native language is going to struggle to pick up this nuance. 

One sensible option or compromise is to only translate the 360 questionnaire or the performance appraisal form.  Leave the main body of the system in English if all of those participating are used to working in English day-to-day.  The key element of the process – the completing of the form or questionnaire is then completed in the individual’s native language ensuring the feedback is accurate and as required.

An additional point is that it is important to translate into your organisations’ language as well as the country language.  One person’s performance appraisal is another’s annual review.  We translate first into the language (e.g. Spanish) and then we translate into the words that are relevant for the client.


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Guest post : 360 degree feedback session versus a coaching session

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This is a guest post from Kevin Watson.  We’ve known Kevin for a number of years and worked with him supporting his projects or using his great skills and experience where we have needed his expertise to support our clients.  We recommend him without reservation.  Here are his thoughts on the 360 degree feedback session.

"At first glance, going through a 360 degree feedback report with someone can appear just like a coaching session.

Sure, there are many similarities as you guide that person through the report, exploring the different perceptions, drawing attention to the important trends & patterns that help reach a deeper understanding of his or her performance as viewed by the different respondents.

As with coaching, the person is guided by the quality of questions asked and it is equally as important that these come from a place of non judgement, empathy & congruence.

However, a closer look will show a key difference from coaching and this can be critical for a successful debrief session.

Most coaching sessions follow a structure found in the GROW model. In this ever popular framework, the coach will help clarify the goal or outcome (Goal), explore the reality of the current situation (Reality), generate a number of possible options that can achieve what he or she wants (Options) and seek to gain commitment to a clear plan or strategy (Will).

However, the debrief session differs from this as it does not seek to draw out solutions or commitment from the recipient.

Instead, it recognises the need for feedback to simply be recognised as valid and for the person to have time & space to enable this deeper level of acceptance.

Only once this has been achieved can the coaching cycle be completed at a later time.

Put another way, maybe the framework to use for a great debrief session is simply GR!"

Kevin Watson

My Own Coach Limited



Kevin Watson is a coach, trainer and consultant supporting personal and team development by pushing beyond those self imposed boundaries and inspiring a call to action, helping them become stronger and measurably more successful in their own terms.

He is an accredited coach with the CIPD and Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring and a Master Practitioner of NLP.

His professional experience spans over 25 years in retail and was part of the senior team responsible for taking Selfridges from an old department store to the shopping experience it is today.

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Latest news; Bowland to work with World Trade Organization on Performance Appraisals

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We are delighted to share the news that we are embarking on a new project to deliver a highly tailored online Performance Appraisal solution to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.

The multi-lingual system will look to replicate the WTO performance appraisal forms online and follow their performance evaluation process from setting objectives, through to mid-term reviews and the end-of-year appraisal.

Data will be shared with their Oracle HRMS platform and reports generated within the system to provide management information on status of appraisals, training & development needs, and performance ratings.

It promises to be a very interesting project which will play to our strengths as we create a bespoke performance appraisal solution that is flexible, scalable and easy-to-use.


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Leading Unstoppable Teams; using 360 degree feedback

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I attended a great event last night courtesy of one of our partners, Clarity Leadership, who had a number of speakers discussing their experience of leading high performing teams; Clarity have started using our new ‘Partner360′, a 360 degree feedback platform which enables such leaders to get a rounded view prior to the programme.

It was interesting to hear how they succeeded through setting a clear, simple vision and then inspired high performance by leading by example and engaging wholeheartedly with their team as they embarked on the journey; regular communciation and feedback was critical.

What I enjoyed most was the honesty in the presentations which not only highlighted their successes but shared where things didn’t go so well; it was clear that quickly learning from inevitable mistakes along the way was just as important as the things they did right first time.


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