One of the best tools available within an organization to grow their present and future leaders……or not? 360 reviews can be used in different situations to accomplish more than one endpoint. The most common way to use a 360 is for evaluations purposes and with the idea that the subject will gain insight into how their behavior impacts both the organization and other individuals and can come up with an action plan to further their growth and emotional intelligence. In recent years though, the 360 has and is being used as a tool for promotions and pay. So let’s take a look at this thing and see if we can come up with a way to use this for the benefit of your organization.
While there may be some disagreement on how to properly utilize this tool, one thing is clear: It is not something you just roll out on a whim and expect that it will benefit anyone or anything within that organization. Too many people, who may not understand the implications, think that this is a great way to take their best shot at someone while not having to reveal their identity. Sound familiar? It’s because the stage must be set for a successful 360 review, both within the organization and with the individual who will be the subject of the review.
One of the strengths of a 360 is that it takes input from many different sources. It should consist of peers, people who are both lower and higher in the organization as well as family and friends (although, with these last two, just a few of these should be enough). But again, if those who are doing the review are not properly instructed in how the 360 works, this can also be its greatest weakness.
As with any change, introduce before you implement. Let the organization know that 360’s are coming, why they are coming, and most importantly how they can positively impact the workplace and the organization. Have you already guessed the principle that you can start building with this meeting? Of course it’s trust. The cornerstone of the 360’s. Both sides must trust the other to keep what’s most valuable about the 360’s, that we’re actively engaged in helping someone grow. It can be a tall order but any business interested in pushing for excellence must be engaged in that growth…..Constantly!
All 360’s should be categorized so you can make a more complete and focused plan for after the process. Categories can be whatever you deem important but some common ones are communication, teambuilding, leadership and relationships , motivation, listening and accountability, conflict resolution, etc. Just make sure they relate to something you can assist that person to grow and get better in. Also make sure you have a section that asks what is that person’s greatest strength and what is their weakness. That one is important for the self motivation needed for anyone that is going to make a personal change.
A 360 review is EMOTIONAL. Sorry for yelling but that’s important to remember. They may need a few days to process the information so give that to them. When you make the plan, it should be a shared effort, with regular checks to make sure that they are learning, growing and staying committed. Because of the emotion involved, you should consider them not fit if you are using them to determine pay, you should take a very careful look if you’re using them for promotion, but as a tool to groom a future leader, grow a better team member and assessing if you have your personnel in the right positions, they can be a huge success.
Get the idea we think they’re brilliant? We do. Done properly we have seen people make huge breakthroughs. We have seen miracles happen. We are astonished at how fast and deep some of these changes take root but then again when someone really is ready for change, it can be overnight. We want you to see those miracles too. The 360 review could be a way. Be careful with it.