360 Review And The Desk Drawer

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During winter break, our family completed an extensive home cleanse project, which oddly enough reminded me of a 360 review.  This has included peering into those closets and drawers that have been either neglected or simply tolerated.  The process can be overwhelming especially if you find more than one closet or desk drawer that needs extensive remediation.

The same metaphor can be used when thinking about undergoing a 360 review.  We often know much of what will be shared by others including our strengths and potential derailers.  However, there can be many surprises when we go through the process.  Just like finding that missing piece of jewelry or that flash drive that contained 2011 tax return files.  Seriously!

A 360 review is a tool that allows for direct reports, peers & supervisors to provide candid feedback about your leadership acumen.  Typically the best 360 tools will measure three critical components including leading self, leading the business and leading others.  Commonly businesses will think of a 360 as a performance review, when in actuality it is designed for your development.

Here is how to maximize the 360 assessment & your post holiday cleanse:

1.) Use A Process:  A key component to deploy a 360 is to make sure you do a  thorough up front orientation session.  During this session, you should clarify the objective of the 360, determine and define raters & develop a communication strategy to tie it together.  Additionally a time frame should be established to make sure the person receiving the feedback understands the parameters to finalize the results.

It is no different than when you worked through that cluttered desk drawer.  It is a good idea to have three bags handy, one for the stuff you will give away, one for stuff you will throw away and one for stuff that you will keep. This is a process and it allows you stay organized and not overwhelmed.

2.) Stay Focused:  Do not even think about trying to organize more than one closet or drawer at a time.  Same is true for your 360 feedback. When you receive feedback, take a look at one competency that needs developing at a time.  It is important to identify one behavior or technique that you can apply to improve that specific area.

Consider this example – Under the category called “Leading Self” there is a key competency called “Managing Career and Life” – If you score low in this area, do not try to fix it all at once, consider a small next step by attempting to get home at 5:00 pm one time a week.  This will help you make incremental change vs. trying to become the exceptional career and life management expert.

3.) Keep The Essential:  There will be so much to review when you analyze your report.  Many 360’s are over 20 pages of data, which includes charts and narrative.  Focus on the essential, the themes that confirm your inspirational strengths and areas to improve.

It is perfectly normal, to expect to have some surprises in your review.  There is often emotional fallout or response to the feedback.  Do not push away the emotion, allow it to exist and determine a strong course of action to rectify.

Many of the leaders I work with find it beneficial to engage in a feedback session with their direct reports to say something to the effect of: “I have heard the feedback and plan to take the following steps.” Please note that you better take the steps or credibility will erode.  Do not be afraid to have the conversation with the raters post 360 review.

Here are a few quotes to ponder regarding feedback:

“While perceptions may not be the ultimate truth, they are what people use to make decisions.” – Breaking The Glass Ceiling

“Criticism is hard to take, especially from a friend, a family member, or a total stranger.” – Franklin P. Jones

“The fear of not looking good is one of the greatest enemies of learning. To learn, we need to acknowledge that there is something that we don’t know, and to perform activities that we’re not good at.” Peter Senge – The Fifth Discipline.

Fear can keep you from engaging in your drawer or closet.  Fear can also prevent you from engaging in self-improvement or taking on the 360 process entirely.  This is a great opportunity for you to gain some valuable feedback and begin de-cluttering areas that just are not working for you.