5 Rules for 360 Feedback Assessments

360 Feedback Assessments can effectively evaluate leaders on how they achieve business goals & objectives, exhibit technical competence, relate to others, and articulate a vision. That said, the marketplace and implementation can be confusing.

Here are five factors to keep in mind for a robust ROI in executing 360 Assessment in your organization:

· Measure behaviors versus traits. For example, top-performing leaders have “commitment.” But what’s the outcome of that quality? What do they do with it? Behaviors, being action-oriented, are coachable and can be changed. Traits, on the other hand, are as part of one’s nature as eye color. They may or may not influence behaviors and tend to be static.

· Identify areas of development. A strengths-only based 360 assessment is like giving every kid on the team a trophy. Instead, when leaders identify behaviors that fall below the norm or show gaps and blind spots, they can help their team grow and improve performance. Isn’t that what development is all about? The debrief should be done with heart (as well as backbone!) reframing “weaknesses” as critical opportunities.

· Choose a robust online platform that allows both participant and coach to filter data, focus on the primary results, and formulate a plan. Otherwise, you’re going to get back a big ‘ol (60+ pages or more!) data-intensive report to analyze. The result is often a time-consuming, confusing process with hard to digest information that ends up at the bottom of a drawer. So, make certain you have a dynamic web-based tool to make perfect sense of all that data and where to go with it.

· Provide executive summaries. When senior managers or HR are steering development initiatives, it’s important they have a 37,000-foot view of the confidential results with highlights. Successful development relies on an internal feedback loop, so it’s critical that more senior or HR staff have enough information to be supportive throughout the participant’s leadership journey while maintaining confidentiality.

· Get hands-on support. Design mistakes and “failure to connect the process” are both cited as common reasons for assessment failure. Don’t go at it alone. Your provider should be a partner for a smooth implementation that ensures stakeholders respond promptly, makes participants feel comfortable (even excited!), and sees that action is the consequence of results. Professional project management will guarantee your organization has focus, goals, and strategy that make your investment worthwhile.

Data is useless unless it’s managed and integrated into your company’s processes. And unless you provide 360 assessment for a living or have extensive experience, it’s likely not your core competency.

360 Feedback can be a valuable tool in advancing High Potentials, modifying leader behaviors for improved results, and leveraging strengths. Covering the finer points in selecting the right model and source will make your life easier as well as significantly increase odds of success!

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