360 programmes go beyond the individual

A guest blog post for Sixth Sense Consulting by Sarah Clapperton

Many people remember their initial experience of 360 feedback; perhaps the first time they heard how their colleagues really see them.  The most effective leaders I meet tend to have embraced this sort of feedback and have adapted their approach, marking the beginning of a development journey (pardon the X Factor cliché).

Whilst poorly-delivered 360 feedback can do more harm than good, a thoughtfully designed 360 programme can wield great, positive power.  Some of the immediate benefits are:

  • Increased self-awareness for the individual; clearly seeing their strengths and development areas, and opening up their blind spots; thereby giving a firm baseline for ongoing development.
  •  Data that can provide insights into training needs for teams and departments, helping to effectively focus development budgets and identify quick wins such as peer mentoring.

And it’s the combination of 360 feedback with other initiatives that seems most powerful:

  • Research has found that the combination of 360 feedback and individual coaching increases leadership effectiveness by up to 60%!
  • Longer-term, 360 feedback alongside other L&D and employee engagement interventions, can help to underpin enterprise-wide culture change programmes.
  • Regularly repeated 360 programmes can encourage a feedback culture; something that is frequently missing in many organisations!
  • 360 surveys that are structured around a well-designed competency framework can clearly articulate what ‘good’ looks like, providing a shared understanding of what high performance means in practice.

Anyone’s first 360 can be quite an emotional experience, but that’s because it gets to the heart of what’s important in their role, to their colleagues and for their organisation.  It’s harnessing that insight that can pay dividends for individuals, teams and change programmes.

A bit of professional advice goes a long way in making a 360 programme a success: whether that’s selecting (or building) a 360 questionnaire, running the process or giving the feedback.  Get in touch if we can help – info@sixthsenseconsulting.co.uk 



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