How to have a meaningful conversation about 360 degree feedback – Part 6 of 6

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The final post in this series focuses on how a 360 degree feedback debrief should conclude; essentially it should move the recipient towards some form of action.

Concluding the debrief – moving towards action

It can be useful to have some record of the debrief; it can be as simple as a summary of the key strengths and development themes which have emerged; to ensure ownership, you should get them to create this summary.
Whilst the debrief is confidential, the organisation naturally has an interest in how it translates into action, so the debrief summary perhaps with an accompanying personal development plan (PDP), which should be created after the debrief, will be useful in tracking the success of the 360 degree feedback debrief and ultimately act as witness to what an individual has committed to do.
The 360 degree feedback debrief is, in our opinion, the most critical element of a 360 feedback process; it provides opportunity for a recipient to delve more deeply into the feedback in a supportive environment and ensure their new level of self-awareness prompts change & development in a way that will have the most impact.
Beyond the individual recipient having their development needs identified and creating an action plan to address these, there is opportunity for the organisation to move towards action as well.
Looking at the aggregated data and what has been picked up in these debrief conversations can provide immensely rich insights which begin to highlight group wide development needs, and as importantly, even bigger themes which go to the very heart of how the organisation itself could change, improve and develop.
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How to have a meaningful conversation about 360 degree feedback – Part 5 of 6

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In the previous part 4 post, we presented a structure for the debrief which began with framing the session for the individual recipient, followed by them reading the report for the first time, and then opening up the debrief conversation with a series of questions; these questions were:

  • What is your overall impression of the report?
  • What does the report suggest are your key strengths?
  • What does the report suggest are your key development areas?

Taking these in turn, the first question is useful for gauging their instinctive reaction to the feedback: what are the broad themes they have identified? Any surprises? Have they had such feedback before? Does it meet expectation? Pleasing or disappointing?

 The next question then has them first focus on what they take to be the positive aspects of the report; recipients often try to skip quickly through this step or find themselves drawn back to the ‘negative’ ratings and comments – your skill is to hold them to evaluating their strengths for almost as long as you might their development areas.
It can be helpful to explain to the recipient why you are doing this; two reasons you can offer are:
  • It’s psychologically good to receive positive feedback!
  • Strengths can often provide insight into development areas; often you will find that there is a flipside to something someone does very well i.e. Someone too focused on tasks may be neglecting the ‘people’ aspect of their role.
The last question then leads them in to the areas they perceive as ‘negative’ and which highlight any obvious development needs.
In both discussion around their strengths and development needs, you can add your own observations on the feedback, pointing to comments which help emphasise their own discoveries.
Ultimately any development needs which emerge should always be measured against the criteria of what impact addressing them will have for both the individual and the organisation; you can simply ask, “Will tackling this make a difference for you and the business?
Our final post in this series will look to concluding the 360 degree feedback debrief and helping the recipient move towards action.
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