A 360 Hummingbird - February 28th, 2007

A financial organization needs to provide feedback to senior executives. No system existed in the company. The challenges were: 1) what 360 instrument; 2) how is the process rolled out: and 3) how is the system sustained.

Conversations were held with middle management and senior level executives. Input from the senior management team was solicited. An open forum was held for employees. Information was gathered regarding what areas the 360 should include and the type of instrument that would match the corporate culture best. Several instruments were identified, a prioritized recommendation was made and one was selected.

The company needed 200+ people to go through the feedback process in about a 5 month period of time. Meeting timelines and budget considerations, Leadership Enterprises utilized a network of professional associates to provide one-on-one feedback from the 360 instrument. Individuals were prepared for the feedback experience by completing a group 360 orientation meeting and reviewing their data ahead of time.

In order for our feedback system to take flight, we needed to crank up feedback while minimizing ‘rater fatigue’ – the condition where the rater has done so many 360s for so many individuals that all sorts of dire consequences result from not reading questions, giving a preponderance of 3’s to laying out several instruments in a row and completing them for all at one time. Although it sounds humorous, ‘rater fatigue’ is a serious issue.

As a result of this phenomenon, who would be answering for whom was seriously considered. Individuals who were peers, who had their own direct reports, and who were a boss’ direct reports were the most vulnerable. A system was devised to limit the number of assessments any one person could have at one time and to a turn-around for completing instruments. No one fell out of the nest.

With the standard for group orientation sessions in place and several of the organization’s human resource professionals trained up to conduct future sessions and provide feedback, a system for sustaining the feedback in the company was achieved. Group data and overall organizational data were provided. Appropriate issues were being raised: How do we incentivize our people? Do we provide appropriate reward and recognition? How might we connect personal development to performance? How might 360s be placed throughout the entire company? The organization was humming. This effort was one small and mighty step toward developing leadership capacity throughout the organization. Like the hummingbird with 600 beats a minute and insatiable appetite the company was moving.

posted by Fran Deutsch at 11:42:11 AM permalink | comments