New Year Resolutions; an interim performance review

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Just two months into the New Year, and many of my resolutions have floundered by the wayside; February is a great month for a personal interim performance review!

Rather than castigate myself too much, I took solace in reading this recent post from Psyblog which I always find interesting; it examined some common strategies that people use in trying to achieve their resolutions and goals.

What is interesting is how many of those often well-known and adhered to strategies may actually work against us; for my part, willpower is never enough..!

Still, an interim performance review is there to look at what is going well, what is not going so well, and make the necessary adjustments; time to start sharing my goals and recording the piecemeal progress!


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Creating behavioural indicators in 360 degree feedback questionnaires

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We often work with 360 degree feedback clients in creating their competency frameworks from first principles; taking their strategy, stated values, desired culture and any other relevant material together in order to capture what they deem important to the future success of the business.

Ultimately a series of competency headings and behavioural indicators emerge which form the basis of their 360 degree questionnaire; at a very pragmatic level, the behavioural indicators need to satisfy at least 4 criteria:

  • Essence; do they successfully capture the essence of what is desired?
  • Language; is the language suited to the organisation?
  • Simplicity; will the statement be easily understood by all potential respondents?
  • Observable; does the indicator highlight an observable behaviour?

We would add that sometimes a fifth condition should be met, and that is ‘Inspiring’; does the statement offer something for one to aspire to?

360 feedback has the possibility to not just provide feedback for individuals in support of their development, but to help shift organisational cultures; it’s worth taking time on the questions.



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Wise words from ER

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I think ER may be the best thing ever on telly.  We’re watching it again on Sky Atlantic.  Right from the very beginning.  While watching last night (I think it is episode 1 or 2 from the programme but we’ve sky plused it so I’ve no idea) Carter called for a psych consult (I’ve got all the words off pat….I could order a CBC and Chem 7 in a shot!).

Following an investigation which showed the woman was clearly struggling to remember anything, Carter queried whether the problem was some unheard of disease and gave 3 or 4 complex possibilities.

The psychiatrist responded…

"When you hear hooves; first think horses not zebras".

Well, that is brilliant.  So often I overcomplicate problems and see others doing the same.  The woman had alzheimers something Carter had overlooked while seeking a more unusual problem.

Often when working in a 360 degree feedback debrief session I see people overanalysing a particular response in their feedback when actually the message is clear.  Rather than trying to work out "what did they mean by that", "what is leading to this response" and looking for something complex our first instinct should be to find the simple explanation.

"When you hear hooves; first think horses not zebras".  Brilliant.


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7 principles of feedback

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Here is a guest post from Kevin Watson – details at the end of this article.  The article continues our theme of inviting people we trust and know to write articles on topics linked to 360 degree feedback and performance appraisals.  If you would like to write an article then "get in touch".

7 principles of feedback

1. Choose correct timing for feedback:

Feedback is most effective when given as soon as possible after the behaviour has been observed. Immediate feedback will help to reinforce a desired behaviour and make it more likely to happen again.

2. Ask for self assessment:

Asking the person for his or her own assessment first will involve them in the feedback and helps to generate a dialogue between the coach and coachee. As people are often well aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, encouraging them to voice their own opinions before providing your own will help them take responsibility for their own performance.

3. Focus on specifics:

When you focus on a specific behaviour, you avoid the risk of personality differences and the other person will be more willing to accept the feedback. For example, when providing corrective feedback:

Do: "When you were talking to customer xyz, I noticed that you forgot to use her name"

Don’t: "You are not building rapport with the customer"

And when providing praise:

Do: "When you spoke to customer xyz, I noticed that you used really good open and closed questioning techniques"

Don’t: "You communicated well there"

4. Limit feedback to a few important points:

Good leaders identify one or two critical areas and help the person address them one at a time. Restrict your feedback to one or two important points so that you do not overwhelm the other person with too many things to consider.

5. Provide more praise than corrective feedback:

Positive reinforcement is one of the strongest factors in bringing about change. Unfortunately most people only focus on the negative.

6. Give praise for expected performance:

People deserve to be praised for doing their job to the expected level. However, too many people take the expected level for granted.

7. Develop Action Plans:

Work together to identify the desired performance or result and how it can be achieved. Decide when the steps will be accomplished.

Call to action!

On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is poor and 10 is excellent) rate your performance against each of the principles above when providing feedback to your team and colleagues.

Finished? What do you notice? Is there any one principle that is particularly stronger than the others? What do you do that makes this so strong?

Which principle is relatively weaker than the others and what can you possibly do to strengthen this? When can you start to exercise your feedback skills in this principle and with whom?

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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