Q&A with Jay Kent-Ferraro from Empowerment Technologies

Dr Jay Kent-Ferraro

Jay Kent-Ferraro is the founder of Empowerment Technologies, an executive coaching, training and consultation firm specializing in emotional intelligence work. Successful ROI from his 360 assessment (360) work with Fortune 500 companies has realized leadership development and organizational culture change. In this Q&A, we draw on his experience and expertise in 360s.

What are the top reasons 
why organizations or individuals you work with choose to conduct a 360?

The top reasons for using a 360 are to determine and work with/on:

  • Top talent;
  • Succession planning;
  • Derailment issues; and/or,
  • Leadership and team development opportunities.

Also, leaders understand the value and importance of actionable feedback because it allows them and those they lead to see “what is.” Then, they can make specific behavioral changes based on that information to improve performance.

What would you say is the key difference a 360 makes in the life of the participant who receives multi-rater feedback? What key differences does the organization experience?

An executive recently said to me, “it (assessment feedback) was the most important wake-up call in my life.” The information that he received is not powerful. Rather, it is the information within the context of a support-oriented and actionable behavioral plan connected to measurable organization results.

To achieve the desired results, pre-framing is needed to ensure trust in the experience and power of a 360. For many people, this is the first time they have been given such specific and often vulnerable feedback presented in such a compelling way. You have to be aware of and attentive –  if a 360 is not managed well, it may result in the following:

  • Lack of attention to process and details;
  • Lack of structure; and/or,
  • Lack of understanding of the link between a 360 with a developmental process.

A clear process where everyone is aligned on the purpose and intended outcome of a 360 is important to avoid potential problems. One metric is to observe if the leader has evolved where he/she has achieved a measurable degree of awareness that translates into value propositions and business choices. Ultimately, mastery (to do something exceptionally well) is the intended outcome for the leader.

How do you set a 360 up for success? What criteria do you look for in the individual or organization who is about to embark on a 360 initiative?

You have to realize that there is a need to manage the anxiety within the organization. To do this, think about the following:

  • Set clear expectations and define roles explicitly;
  • Orient the raters to the purpose and intent of the feedback;
  • Link 360 to development;
  • Provide informed consent to both the person being rated and the raters regarding how the information will be used;
    • Protect confidentiality of the raters and the process; and,
    • Use a psychometrically sound instrument.

Also, it is important to keep and manage the integrity of the data to ensure authenticity. To do so, think about the following:

  • What are the specific applications of a 360?
  • Ask for a list of raters to ensure a broad spectrum of data to counter positive or negative halo effects.
  • Ask the raters for face-to-face interviews to gather richer data and context that is both accurate and contextual. Be careful to strip the example from the rater in providing context to the ratees since they always ask, “give me an example.” This gives credibility to a 360 while maintaining anonymity.

What is the best 360 process that you have seen either with an organizational team, executive, leader or manager in terms of impact on work performance? 

Ideally, a 360 is connected to an ongoing leadership program like coaching or mentoring. Here are a few thoughts around best practices:

  • Use an initial survey with the executives to determine their level of engagement and readiness for development. It’s necessary to have their informed consent to participate in a 360.
  • It’s important that the administration and analysis is timely. When the feedback is delayed, it tends to create a decline in interest and momentum.
  • Show the connection between emotional intelligence and leadership competencies.
  • Engage with a robust coaching plan that is behavior based. Then, follow up with 45-60 day reviews to re-calibrate with the individuals.

What would you say are the key benefits of a 360 dedicated to measuring emotional intelligence?

There are 3 key benefits as follows:

1)    Emotional intelligence can change! Therefore, a 360 can be a powerful tool to produce measurable change in leadership behaviors.

2)    Science has shown that emotional intelligence will always be a facilitator of performance success, and it can be measured with an empirically validated assessment like an EQ 360®.

3)    Personality is the “hardware” of performance; whereas, emotional intelligence is the driving “software.” The measurement of emotional intelligence is a great complement to personality and IQ when evaluating an individual or group as emotional intelligence can be developed.

Connect with Jay Kent-Ferraro at Empowerment Technologies.


Telephone Numbers:
(888) 744-9574
(918) 744-9574 (Facsimile)

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