360 Degree Feedback – The Pros & Cons, Part 2

Tuesday, 8 August 2019

Why 360 Degree Feedback is a waste of time

360 Degree Feedback Pros and Cons – Part 2 The Pros

360 Degree Feedback is the only way to measure behaviour within a business

It is undeniable that there are a lot of issues with 360 degree feedback (see Part 1 of this two part article), however if you want to measure behaviour and behavioural change with any degree of accuracy it is the only horse in town. Here we present our views on the 360 Degree Feedback Pros & Cons.

It is however a delicate instrument and should be treated with respect.  If you take the time to ensure that the content and process aligns with your strategy, and fits your business and your people will yield much greater returns than those companies who simple opt for a turnkey solution from a provider.  We have created a document as part of our  Behave! framework that summarises all the questions that you need to ask yourself when implementing 360 degree feedback. If you contact us, we will send you a free copy of the questions you need to consider when introducing or reviewing 360 feedback.

360 Degree Feedback can be literally life and career changing

Holding a mirror to how we behave with our colleagues, reports and managers, and then comparing this with our view of our own behaviour can provide deep and powerful insights.  As long as this is done sensitively and sensibly (the two don’t always go together), it has the capability to dramatically improve their behaviour.  It enables both the recipient of the report and probably more importantly those who work close to them to work more effectively and more efficiently.

… “I was highly sceptical of the whole 360 Feedback process, particularly when at first glance it just seemed to tell me what I already knew.  However, by focusing on just a few specific behaviours for just a few months, the quality of the relationship with my team and my manager has improved beyond recognition.  This has undoubtedly been the catalyst for the significant improvement in project outcomes over the last six months …”

360 Degree Feedback can keep a company “honest” and even save it from extinction.

This may seem like a bold statement, but the fact is that expertise, systems and processes alone do not protect a company from poor decision making or abuse of the systems.  There have been many government sponsored enquiries into corporate failure over the years all the way back from the 1992 Cadbury report after the collapse of Polly Peck empire through the Greenbury, Turnbull, Higgs and Walker reports, each triggered by collapse or concern about the way large businesses are run.  In nearly every instance the behaviour of a single individual or small group trumped all the checks and balances in place at the time.  The Higgs report created a Behavioural Competency Framework for boards and recommended that it be used and reported on a regular basis, and the latest Walker Report insisted that checks and balances on behaviour be an integrated part of the board reporting process, thus hoping to ensure that minority views are recorded and that the board take time to reflect upon their behaviour.

It contributes to both the top and bottom line

In very general terms behaviour comes under the “How” of learning and development (“How do I lead my team”, “How do we show that we live our values”, “How do we react when things get tough” “How do we show that we care for our staff”) as opposed to the “What” (making sure the books are balanced, writing brilliant code, building fabulous machines, creating innovative products and services).  In many companies the How is consumed by the What on a daily and weekly basis.  However, without being excellent at the How companies sub-optimise the capability of their people, lose trust in their management and money.

So, to sum up these 360 Degree Feedback Pros & Cons, improving the How, improves the bottom line (though proving it is often problematic! See our article on The ROI of 360 Degree Feedback), and you can’t do this without measuring and improving behaviour to align with aspirations of the corporate Competency Framework.

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