Case Study Interview – 360 Degree Feedback in Professional Services

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We are very pleased to share this latest case study interview with Paul Ward, Managing Partner of Pantheon, a private equity firm, with whom we successfully delivered a 360 degree feedback programme across its global partner population.

In the interview, Paul shares his experience of the project and highlights how they:

  • Defined the key aims of the 360 degree feedback project 
  • How they succeeded and overcame challenges along the way
  • What value partners took from the face-to-face debriefs
  • How they used the insight from the data & debriefs to deliver firm-wide benefits
  • Advice for professional services firms considering 360 degree feedback

“We found working with Bowland on both our Performance Appraisal and 360 Degree Feedback projects very constructive. Their approach did not feel formulaic in any way. It felt tailored to what we needed and we didn’t feel pushed in a particular direction.  

It was very much a conversation that led to the right outcome, so our experience has been very positive with their support making a significant difference and improving the process that we went through.”

Paul Ward, Managing Partner, Pantheon

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What to do when your greatest strength is a weakness

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We have just completed a number of 360 degree feedback debriefs with several different clients; the recipients have commonly been high level executives and have been further united by a theme which runs true for most individuals, and that is that their strengths have been at the very root of their development areas.

All of us have particular knowledge, skills, and patterns of thinking,  which have served us well throughout our careers; often these strengths have placed us in positions within organisations where these are highly valued.

However, time and again in 360 degree feedback reports, we see how such strengths in an individual start to unravel for them; there is a fall-out or detrimental effect on those around them. Not because they are no longer strengths but simply because they are overplayed.

The individual who relentlessly focuses on the results, the client or the project timeline, over time can become blinded to other desired outcomes i.e. a happy team, an ability to be flexible in light of new information, personal well-being.

A 360 degree feedback report offers the opportunity for an individual to re-calibrate their approach, and perhaps temper some of their strengths which are still very useful, but need to be dialled down a little.

Discussion of this always reminds me of the joke about a person being interviewed for a new job:

Interviewer: So, what would you say your greatest weakness is?

Interviewee: Ah, that would be honesty

Interviewer: Honesty? I would think that’s a strength surely?

Inteviewee: I don’t give a hoot what you think






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