By Drew Bird, MSc, MA. from ClearPoint Leadership
Welcome back! In our earlier blog posting on Monday, May 27th, we covered off one to five of our 10 Tips for Successful 360s. In this installment we will finish out the list with tips through 10.
6. Recognize and be aware of the fact that 360 feedback is not ‘the truth.’ Imagine this scenario: There is a leadership team with 8 members. Next year, the leader of the team will be retiring (everyone knows this), and there is expected to be some stiff competition between the 8 team members for the role. In what would appear to be a completely unrelated process, the organization uses a 360 as a mechanism to determine how the leaders in the team are performing. What are the chances that the impending recruitment process might influence some of the peer feedback? After all, we wouldn’t want to make the competition look too good! Just because it’s an anonymous 360, doesn’t mean that all of the normal organizational politicking and positioning wont impact the feedback. Consider, also, some team members that may have a poor relationship with the Subject. Even if the subject of a 360 is not related to interpersonal relationships, it would be naïve to think that Rater feedback may not be impacted.
7. Help the subject to read and interpret the report. Obviously, the debrief process is about helping the subject to understand and interpret the information in the report, but consider also that they will spend a considerable amount of time outside of the formal debrief conversation looking at the report on their own. Most reports, in addition to the actual score information and comments, contain a multitude of charts, stats, information, and other associated items. Ensure that you spend time during the debrief helping them understand the full scope of the report. This is particularly important when there are multiple scales, diagrams, and charts.
8. Allow enough time for Rater completions, or be ready to chase. Clients are often surprised when I tell them that we need to allow 3-4 weeks for people to respond to a 360. Without diligent chasing, it can take longer than that. When a client wants to make the completion window shorter than three weeks, I explain that subjects will need to contact directly, and follow up with, all of their Raters. I also explain that when the debrief date comes around, if there are not a sufficient number of completions (75%), I won’t do the debrief without the Subjects approval. Scoring a 360 with less than 75% completion can create a skewed reality which the 360 report shows as real.
9. Interpret thoroughly – Debriefing a 360 is a process. The more you work with a tool the more you will learn about the nuances of the report. For example, some tools (like the EQ360) allow you to compare between rater groups. Where big differences appear in scores, this can open up a conversation about how the subject might be showing up differently in different groups. Other tools allow you to identify differences within groups as well. Within group differences, when present, enable you to ask coaching questions around why certain individuals within a group might be experiencing the person in a different way than others. These are rich conversations that go far beyond the basic ‘lowest and highest’ 360 debriefs that, I believe, do not give full value to the client.
10. Always Offer Follow up. In some cases 360’s are administered as part of a longer term developmental relationship that might include coaching, mentoring, or other types of support. Irrespective of whether or not this is the case, I always offer the Subject the chance for a follow up call or check-in. If often takes people a while to fully digest their 360 results, and questions do come up from time to time that require clarification or additional information. Leaving an open door for follow up demonstrates support to the Subject, and is, I believe, a professional responsibility that comes with work of this nature.
There you have it – my “Ten Top Tips for Successful 360s”. If you have been working with 360s, I am sure you have top tips of your own. Please feel free to share with the community by commenting below.
If you are interested in learning more about EQ 360, please take a look at the webinar:
A Practitioners Guide to 360 Assessments – View the recasts of the webinar here.