Should we call it something other than 360?

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One of the major trends for us over the past few years has been the inclusion of feedback from a range of people as part of the performance appraisal process.  From a software perspective we have an integrated system so it may be that we see more of this because competitor’s don’t have the same capability but it does look to be a broader trend in the market.

If we look back 10 years, 360 feedback was something quite specific.  There were strong arguments in research and practice that it worked best when it was developmental.  It was built around competencies and behaviours and was something quite different from appraisal.  We continue to consult, debrief, and provide the software for “360″ but is it the same as the performance appraisal activity?

Often, as short hand, 360 feedback is used to mean any feedback that is received from a range of people.  So, we too will refer to a client’s appraisal system making use of 360 feedback.  But, I wonder did we lose something in the merger?

Gaining input into the performance review process from a range of people often makes sense.  Organisational structures, geographical locations, team-based and project based working all mitigate against the manager having the full picture.  Yet, the feedback has a different context when it is linked to appraisal and particularly when it is linked directly or indirectly to remuneration.

There is something attractive in the idea of receiving developmental feedback – that you have asked for, wish to receive, understand the purpose of and all intend to be developmental.  You can set up systems, processes, people all geared to the leader/manager being well positioned to receive the feedback, accept it, and draw out actions and commit to them.  You can consider all of the recent neuroscience research on feedback and set the process up accordingly.

Appraisal/performance review is a valid process considering performance at work against goals, targets, business values, etc.  It is often structure to suit the organisation.  As I’ve said, gathering feedback from others on that performance makes sense but it is not what 360 feedback is in its most effective form.

The answer … do them both!  Gain feedback on performance annually however you see fit and in whatever way works best.  Gain developmental feedback for leaders separately at a different time of the year.  That way you have two conversations at different times of the year with a different focus.  Of course there will be overlap but better to have two highly meaningful conversations with overlap than miss out on the real benefits of 360 feedback.

 

Brendan

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Should I listen to your opinion?

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On a a reasonably long car journey yesterday I was flipping between radio channels.  As I’m of a certain age Radio 2 and Radio 4 were featuring more prominently than they would have previously done.  On Radio 2 was a discussion on the dangers of sledging and on Radio 4 was a discussion on levels of inequality.

Initially the sledging discussion was with someone from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.  Other than a slight concern that we had lost the plot (bicycle helmets for sledging!) the discussion has data and insights built up from some expertise in the subject.

On Radio 4 I was later into the debate and already into the public contribution.

It was at this point that I became a little exasperated.  On both channels the public were calling in with their views.  And while their views were stridently held and even at times interesting I couldn’t help but wonder what was the point of me listening to views of non-experts on the subject.   Invariably both discussions included one anecdote that the opinion giver extrapolated wildly from.  That opinion was of course valid and honestly held but it wasn’t possible to tell whether this was an isolated view or one more generally held.  It was the equivalent of a pub conversation.  At times fun but not overly illuminating on the subject.

In 360 feedback we often say that everyone’s opinion is valid.  In collating the narrative comments we ask the recipient to take on all of the feedback.  But it is of course important that the respondents are useful reviewers of this recipient.  Though not expert feedback givers, they should through exposure to the recipient over a period of time have built up a balanced view of them so that they can give balanced, useful feedback.  The selection of respondents is going to be critical to how the report is formed and its content.  A good reminder to all of us to spend longer explaining who makes a good respondent in 360.

 

Brendan

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What should 360 degree feedback software do?

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We have spoken at great length about our approach to 360 degree feedback; how to ensure it is effective through focusing on the quality of the debrief conversation, delivering training for 360 debriefers, the principles of good questionnaire design, and selecting a report that works dependent on the purpose of the process.

However, we shouldn’t lose sight of the software element in the middle of these key factors for success; we provide our clients with the tailored on-line 360 degree feedback software as well as all the supporting services described above. 

Making the software work for you

I don’t want this to descend into a ‘How to select an online 360 software provider’ post, so instead – I’ll cover how to get the system to work for you.  We see the system’s role as a supportive one – it only exists to help the process, it must not become the end itself.  So, you are looking to:

  • make it simple
  • ensure the only time spent by people is on completing or reviewing feedback rather than clicking all over the place
  • make error checking easy
  • remove administration tasks / make them easier
  • improve reporting and make it more timely

Most everything else is fluff.  So, when we are implementing the system phase, we work off a simple checklist of what needs to be done and we strip the system functionality down to this level.  The less noise the better.

If you have this level of simplicity then there should be no training requirement; it should be intuitive. The days of lengthy user training manuals are gone.

For a service like ours there is no real IT project to implement.  The only area to take care on is ensuring that emails will get through firewalls/spam filters.

We do suggest that you pilot the 360 implementation if you can.  There are unlikely to be technical issues, but this does offer the opportunity to change wording of questions, instructional text, and review process.

Otherwise it should be a matter of getting the emails sent out and off we go.

Respecting the role of software in the 360 degree feedback process is important, but don’t let the tail wag the dog.

John

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Busting Urban Myths – 360 Degree Feedback

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Levels of Difficulty

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Complimentary Webinar – How to deliver a great 360 degree feedback project

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Friday 23rd May@1pm BST

Join us for this 45 minute webinar which will help you deliver a great 360 Degree Feedback project within your own organisation.

Eventbrite - Complimentary Webinar - How to deliver a great 360 Degree Feedback project

The session will focus on four of the key foundation elements of successful 360 degree feedback implementation, namely:

  • Design of the competency frameworks, questionnaire, and rating scale
  • Understanding the different type of 360 reports; what works when
  • How to share the feedback report in the one-to-one debrief session
  • How to build the case for 360; getting senior level ‘buy-in’

Previous delegate comments:

“Very informative and helpful, we came away with some great tips & ideas for our implementation of 360″

“A lucid and practical account of how to go about 360 degree feedback”

 ”Short, sharp and to the point. Well delivered by very experienced consultants. Thank you”

If you want to understand the basic building blocks of how to successfully implement a 360 Degree Feedback programme within your organisation then this session will answer most of your questions.

 No cost to attend; spaces are limited to 20 seats

 We hope you can join us on the 23rd May.

John

Eventbrite - Complimentary Webinar - How to deliver a great 360 Degree Feedback project

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Unearthing myths and speaking truth to power with 360 degree feedback

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We ran our seminar, entitled ‘Using 360 Degree Feedback to bust through urban myths’, for the first time last week and were very pleased with how it was received.

The essence of it drew attention to the power of 360 degree feedback as something that can not only help individuals explore their own stories, myths, strengths and development areas, but also a process which can help unearth myths and truths within the organisation itself.

The behaviours displayed by individuals are not just a product of their own predispositions, capabilities, values and alike, but critically are in no small part driven by the organisational system they are part of.

Systems of reward and incentives, unwritten or explicit, will affect behaviour; as will the culture, strategy, processes and external environment.

By exploring lots of  individual’s behaviours through 360 degree feedback, an aggregated picture emerges which tells you something of about the reality within the organisation – what was set up with a positive, simple intent has created a complex reality on the ground.

The key is to be able to explore the myths and find the truth, before ‘speaking truth to power’, so that the organisation can pay attention to the strategic insights which can flow from 360 degree feedback and recalibrate.

Our thanks to all who attended and the interesting discussions which helped explore this topic.

John

 

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Final call for free seminar – Using 360 Degree Feedback to bust through ‘Urban Myths’

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Date/Time

Friday 28th March@9am

Venue

RPC, Tower Bridge House London , St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1AA, London

REGISTER HERE FOR LAST 3 REMAINING SEATS

Summary

The use of 360 degree feedback, particularly in support of senior leadership teams, continues to grow rapidly; yet the real value of the insight it can deliver often fails to materialise because organisations do not capitalise on the rich, strategically important, information which can be unearthed during the one-to-one debrief conversations.

This ability to bust through individual and organisational ‘Urban Myths’ is what makes 360 degree feedback so powerful.

During this one-hour seminar you will discover how you can ensure you extract the maximum value from your next senior leadership team 360 degree feedback programme.

By the end of this seminar you will:

  • Gain understanding of how to implement a ‘Strategic 360′ programme; from design, to conducting debriefs and creating the aggregated summary analysis
  • Avoid the common pitfalls that can derail a 360 degree feedback programme, waste your time & your money
  • Learn from a real-life case study how RPC realised the full potential of their 360 programme
  • Be able to ensure your next 360 degree feedback programme delivers the maximum return on investment to your organisation

 

REGISTER HERE

 

Previous seminar attendees testimonials

“If you are looking for a session that is about imparting sound knowledge and sharing best practice across a range of industry sectors, Bowland’s seminars are perfect

“Short, sharp and to the point. Well delivered by very experienced consultants.”

“Excellent event – engaging presenters & stimulating content.”

“A breath of fresh air! Presentation was direct, to the point with no frills! An eye opener.”

 

Speaker Biographies

Brendan Walsh, Director, Bowland Solutions

As well as his leadership responsibilities in Bowland, Brendan is a sought after 360 degree feedback debriefer to senior executives of Bowland’s clients. He has handled feedback sessions with Chief Executives and other board members of leading UK organisations. His pragmatic approach to supporting and challenging senior executives through a 360 debrief ensures the executive values the confidential meeting and takes responsibility for the content of the report.

John Rice, Director, Bowland Solutions

As a Director with Bowland Solutions, John brings over 10 years of experience in facilitation, training and coaching across a range of high profile & diverse clients including Legal & General, Microsoft, Revlon, CBRE, Renault, Kellogg’s and a number of top 100 law firms.

His style is pragmatic and business focussed, which readily engages senior leadership teams, coaching them to greater levels of individual, team and organisational success.

Timings

09:00 –  Registration & refreshments

0:930 – Seminar

10:30 – Refreshments & networking

11:00 – Close

Testimonial

“We recently returned to Bowland for a landmark programme involving over 200 of our most senior people worldwide. The firm obtained 3 very valuable outcomes from it: robust management data that told us where to focus our investment in learning and development, so we put every £ where it will do most good; an uplift in personal skills – not just from the recipient group but from over 400 people who practised giving constructive feedback; and finally the target group found the one-to-one debrief meetings to be milestones in their professional development.”

Richard Emanuel, Chief Operating Officer, RPC

 

REGISTER HERE

 

We hope you can join us this Friday

Bowland Solutions

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Register for our next free seminar – Using 360 Degree Feedback to develop strategic insight into your organisation

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Date/Time

Friday 28th March@9am

Venue

RPC, Tower Bridge House London , St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1AA, London

REGISTER HERE

Summary

The use of 360 degree feedback, particularly in support of senior leadership teams, continues to grow rapidly; yet the real value of the insight it can deliver often fails to materialise because organisations do not capitalise on the rich, strategically important, information which can be unearthed during the one-to-one debrief conversations. 

During this one-hour seminar you will discover how you can ensure you extract the maximum value from your next senior leadership team 360 degree feedback programme.

By the end of this seminar you will:

  • Gain understanding of how to implement a ‘Strategic 360′ programme; from design, to conducting debriefs and creating the aggregated summary analysis
  • Avoid the common pitfalls that can derail a 360 degree feedback programme, waste your time & your money
  • Learn from a real-life case study how RPC realised the full potential of their 360 programme
  • Be able to ensure your next 360 degree feedback programme delivers the maximum return on investment to your organisation

 

REGISTER HERE

 

Previous seminar attendees testimonials

“If you are looking for a session that is about imparting sound knowledge and sharing best practice across a range of industry sectors, Bowland’s seminars are perfect

“Short, sharp and to the point. Well delivered by very experienced consultants.”

“Excellent event – engaging presenters & stimulating content.”

“A breath of fresh air! Presentation was direct, to the point with no frills! An eye opener.”

 

Speaker Biographies

Brendan Walsh, Director, Bowland Solutions

As well as his leadership responsibilities in Bowland, Brendan is a sought after 360 degree feedback debriefer to senior executives of Bowland’s clients. He has handled feedback sessions with Chief Executives and other board members of leading UK organisations. His pragmatic approach to supporting and challenging senior executives through a 360 debrief ensures the executive values the confidential meeting and takes responsibility for the content of the report.

John Rice, Director, Bowland Solutions

As a Director with Bowland Solutions, John brings over 10 years of experience in facilitation, training and coaching across a range of high profile & diverse clients including Legal & General, Microsoft, Revlon, CBRE, Renault, Kellogg’s and a number of top 100 law firms.

His style is pragmatic and business focussed, which readily engages senior leadership teams, coaching them to greater levels of individual, team and organisational success.

Timings

09:00 –  Registration & refreshments

0:930 – Seminar

10:30 – Refreshments & networking

11:00 – Close

Testimonial

“We recently returned to Bowland for a landmark programme involving over 200 of our most senior people worldwide. The firm obtained 3 very valuable outcomes from it: robust management data that told us where to focus our investment in learning and development, so we put every £ where it will do most good; an uplift in personal skills – not just from the recipient group but from over 400 people who practised giving constructive feedback; and finally the target group found the one-to-one debrief meetings to be milestones in their professional development.”

Richard Emanuel, Chief Operating Officer, RPC

 

REGISTER HERE

 

We hope you can join us

Bowland Solutions

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How can you ensure your 360 degree feedback programme is efficient AND effective?

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Efficiency tends to deal with things. Effectiveness tends to deal with people.

I read this quotation recently and felt it tied in very well with our new website and the message we are keen to promote around what it is we do; and that is to extract maximum value from 360 degree feedback programmes and performance appraisals by making them efficient AND effective.

We might re-write this quotation to better suit this message as ‘Efficiency tends to come through software. Effectiveness tends to come through the conversation.”

Our quiet on-line software provides the solid base upon which to build, whilst the supporting services we offer, all focus on making sure those conversations, be they a 360 degree feedback debrief or performance appraisal conversation, go well.

From the initial design of the 360 degree feedback questionnaire, to providing insightful reports which feed the debrief conversation rather than detract from it, and skills training for Line Managers & employees in how to have meaningful conversations; all of these are there to ensure that the people involved get the most from the conversation because that’s when it’s effective.

To read more about how these different elements can help make your 360 degree feedback project both efficient and effective, just take a look at our new website, where you will also find a free new whitepaper to download automatically, ‘How to conduct an effective 360 degree feedback debrief”.

If you have any problems downloading then just use the ‘Contact Us’ form at the bottom of the website or on this blog to request the whitepaper directly.

 John

 


 

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Extracting value from the debriefs in 360 degree feedback

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For some time now, our clients have asked us to support them with the feedback session following a 360 degree feedback process – the debrief. A number of clients look to Bowland to handle the session itself. Be it for a leadership team of 6 or 7 people, or 200 partners/senior managers in a law firm, we are able to ensure that the 360 process leads to a meaningful conversation on the feedback received. We are also, separately, able to extract additional value outside of the personal debrief session.

When listening to the feedback recipients respond to their feedback and as we develop a very open conversation with them, themes emerge across the recipients. Some themes are common personal development patterns and suggest training or coaching interventions that may apply across a range of people. Other themes describe the system at play within the organisation. Examples may be the influence that the pay/reward scheme has on behaviour or how the collapse of a particular market has led to a change in behaviours. And finally, we hear organisational culture or processes at play. How one department perceives another, how two clashing departmental leaders are creating difficulties lower down in the organisation, how a recent strategic change is being experienced at lower levels and the uncertainty that is leading to disenchantment.

Because we are external to the organisation and our conversations are confidential we gain a fascinating, candid insight into the ‘real’ world of the organisation.
When a couple of our clients spotted this and asked us to report back to their leadership team on what we found, we saw the power of such a process. We now always offer to our clients the option of a written report and presentation to the leadership team or head of our findings. We get fantastic feedback on how useful that process is.

360 degree feedback should always concentrate in the first instance on the development of each individual. To extract maximum value from 360 degree feedback you should then link the personal feedback to the organisational themes.

Brendan

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Squeezing the lemon; 360 Degree Feedback and Coaching

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This brief news article on the British Psychological Society website highlights how coaching has a greater impact on performance than does training or 360 degree feedback – instinctively this feels right, but perhaps is arriving at an incomplete analysis.

Coaching has the ability to create focussed action on the part of an individual; it sets out the desired goal to achieve, explores the reality of where someone is, challenges the individual to consider different routes to achieving this aim and then bears witness to what they finally decide to commit to by way of action and change.

This change however, is rarely achieved without some catalyst; effectively handled, 360 degree feedback is an excellent method to act as a catalyst – it raises self-awareness and builds acceptance of what needs to change, and in doing so, enables individuals to form more measured goals to pursue in the first place.

So whilst coaching may have a greater impact on performance than 360 degree feedback (or training, but I will keep that for another post!), I suspect if they extended the research and analysis, they would find that coaching AND 360 degree feedback has a greater impact on performance than does coaching alone.

John

 


 

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360 degree feedback – Be mindful of the impact you are having

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In my last post, I made the observation that for the most part people are quite self-aware of their development areas; they have it in their peripheral vision and a 360 degree feedback report brings it in front of them for exploration.

By contrast, whilst people may have a knowledge of these development areas, they are often less aware of the impact their behaviour is having, and this can be the catalyst for change.

This is never more so the case then when you have someone in a senior position within the organisation or firm; they are visible, influential and the choices they make create ripples around them which they are sometimes quite blind to.

If individuals can fully explore their 360 degree feedback report to highlight the impact they are having on those around them, then this can be the ‘lightbulb’ moment that has an individual become more committed to being mindful of their behaviours in the future.

John

 

 

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360 degree feedback; objects in the mirror appear closer than they are

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I recall this being the phrase imprinted on the wing mirrors of some cars, possibly just in the US, as I considered the nature of development areas uncovered for an individual in their 360 degree feedback report. i.e. The individual often knows what they are as they always have them in their peripheral vision.

For the most part, when we are conducting 360 degree feedback debriefs, particularly with senior executives within an organisation or partners in a law firm, we are working with very savvy people; they are generally highly self-aware and know what development themes are likely to be in their report.

All the report serves to do in that moment is to bring what is in the wing mirror up in front of someone; they can then see it more clearly, more  closely, and with their fullest attention.

The debriefer can help to explore those themes, pick through them, tease out more detail and perhaps increase their self-awareness a little more too.

The trick is for that self-awareness to go beyond the debrief; it should be that the individual carries that self-awareness into their day-to-day; in other words to become mindful in every moment, because that’s when self-awareness creates change.

John

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What’s your Achilles’ Heel?

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“An Achilles’ heel is a deadly weakness in spite of an overall strength, that can actually or potentially lead to downfall.”

360 degree feedback highlights both strengths and development areas; not so dramatic as a ‘deadly weakness’ but interesting nonetheless.

What’s often the case though for most people as they review their 360 degree feedback report is that they notice that they do genuinely have an Achilles’ Heel as well; something which could undo them if not paid attention to and worked upon.

But, here’s the thing; that ‘deadly weakness’ is not just ‘in spite of an overall strength’ but often ‘because of an overall strength’.

A strength overplayed becomes a weakness; confidence becomes arrogance, vocal becomes domineering, and not saying ‘No’ becomes unsustainable.

The actions for an individual in these situations becomes less those of development and more of tempering, moderation and mindfulness.

So, as you read your 360 degree feedback report and acknowledge your strengths, pause to reflect, ‘Which of these is my Achilles Heel?’.

John

 

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