Hitting the target but missing the point – Why bother with 360 degree feedback?

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There has been a lot of discussion of late in nearly every sphere of public life and government policy with regard to the concept of performance targets; those set within education, policing, the NHS..the list, as they say, goes on.

In each instance, the phrase ‘hitting the target but missing the point’ has been used to highlight the perceived madness, whereby organisations and institutions are so focused on achieving a performance target, that the very core of why they exist is lost i.e. to foster learning, to solve crime and promote safety, to care for patients.

There is a separate post to be written (a long one!) about how in these instances, the values which should underpin the behaviours of said organisations and institutions, are forgotten; they fail to provide the moral compass they should do to individuals and management teams – poor decisions are made for children, citizens and patients.

There is a parallel to any organisational process which is put in place, which ‘ticks the boxes’, but fails to deliver on the real reason it is there; in the case of 360 degree feedback, the point is that it prompts a meaningful conversation between a line manager and an employee, about values, behaviours, and development – it isn’t an end in itself.

If running a 360 programme simply serves to churn out a colourful report, which is left to the individual to try and decode without discussion, then the value of the process is very much lost.


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