This webinar is about some critical issues of perspective. Perspective is so important for many reasons. We'll be focusing on using the Open 360 assessment to emphasise this. Because it's a report that includes a lot of perspectives and it tells you about yourself and others and how they perceive you as well, and that's why it's so important, especially in business where communications can also go so sideways or so wrong, as we probably found out. In talking to people about perspective, I often get asked a lot about Extended DISC and Leadership. They often ask me the following questions:
- How they can use it to give them insights about if their management team are doing a good job
- How do they know that they are doing a good job
- How do they know what the team thinks of the management
- If there's a type of leadership style that they need that would suit the team better
Sometimes people ask me, "there seem to be some issues going on within the team, but when I ask the manager, the manager says, 'look, everything's fine' how can I get to the bottom of what's happening?"
So how can you get to those real issues and especially the matter of perspective? Well, of course, the behavioural assessments are incredible for answering many of these questions. Still, suppose you want some specific clarity and possibly dig into areas that you thought might not be part of the issue. In that case, I always suggest a different discipline, and that's using the clever and very powerful tool of the 360 assessment. Open 360 reviews highlight the person's perspective and their peers, direct reports, and their manager. A group of people working together with very diverse behaviours overlaps with different personalities and environments. This often leads to conflict and communication issues. We can identify those issues and improve them with an Open 360 assessment.
What is a 360 Feedback Survey?
A 360 feedback survey is a very different tool from the behavioural assessments you're familiar with, and they have a different set of questions and very different results. Firstly, it's an online-based tool, making it easy to assess someone anywhere or anytime. It's also often implemented as an anonymous feedback tool that's pretty important as participants need to feel safe when answering the questions and putting their real perceptions forward. The questions themselves can help measure perspectives on perceived skills, behaviours, and competencies, not just based on behaviour. Businesses already use 360 feedback in many areas such as performance appraisals, succession planning, team development and actively used in leadership and management development.
The 360 measures the opinion of a group of people, usually from all around the individual hence the name 360. What I mean by that is that it's good to get feedback from their peers, manager, direct reports and themselves. The tool also concentrates on the self, and we'll look at that with the blind spot report. Most people who I talk to about 360 feedback are amazed at the scope of the report.
Common Uses of 360 Feedback
Here are some very common uses of 360 feedback:
- A team development tool
- Provides team members with the opportunity to give good feedback from other people in a positive way.
- Increasing openness and feedback within the organisation
- Team and communication skills training
- Solving interaction problems and conflicts
- A management tool to get to teams better
- Performance appraisals
- Performance management training needs identification
- Leadership and management development
- Employee development
- Skills development
The list of the common uses of the 360 assessment is extensive!
360 Feedback Benefits
Having an understanding of the products is excellent. However, the 360 feedback benefits are really what we need to know. The following are some of the benefits of a 360 assessment.
- Increased self-awareness
- Identification of problem areas
- Self-perception vs reality (blind spots)
- Improved communication
- Improved performance
- Improved team dynamics
- Compare feedback from year to year
360 Feedback Example:
Let's look at a generalised case study that explains how an organisation used the open 360 feedback assessment in a particular situation. After that, we can use the scenario to look further at how perspective can play a role in leadership and building effective teams, especially with communication.
One of our clients, an HR consultant, was called into a company to help resolve some issues. After talking together, the consultant and the company decided to implement a leadership enhancement program. They identified that they would start by putting all four department managers through it to improve each department's effectiveness and the bottom line. The brief to the consultant was for them to create a customised leadership program that could identify specific areas for development. Having previously used Open 360 feedback, the consultant opted to put the four department managers through 360 feedback. This allowed the managers to receive and give feedback on each other and let any direct reports, senior managers, and other team members provide feedback on the various department managers. The consultant knew how important it was to get well-rounded feedback and just how vital perspective and perception was in the process.
The consultant created a 360 questionnaire using the FinxS online assessment system. The questionnaire was unique and very customised, using questions that the consultant specifically tailored to the business and their business objectives. The 360 assessment included six question groups: communication, management, motivation, planning, prioritising, and delegating. Each question group linked to one or more of the departmental company goals. There were five scaled questions within each question group and one open-ended question. In this particular scenario, the open 360 assessment was the consultant's tool of choice as it also revealed what we call cognitive dissonance, known as the blind spots between the managers perceived performance and the performance as perceived by the respondents. In the report, these issues are demonstrated using a traffic light system whereby the colours indicate the gap size between the different perceptions. That, of course, is the first natural step and personal development.
After generating the 360 assessment, the consultant noticed a large gap between the perceived performance of the IT manager and his direct reports. A red traffic light indicated the gap. The consultant further examined the report and could narrow down the area generating most of the concern and saw that it was within the communication question group. The results suggested that the department manager might lack detailed descriptions of relevant updates for his team. Basically, he's not detailed enough for this particular team. The consultant also noted that in one specific question in the communication group, which asked if the manager provided detailed instructions when communicating important information, the team leader rated himself as a positive 2. In contrast, his direct reports rated him a negative 0.33. Clearly, this was an obvious gap. This was also correspondent with the feedback from the open questions within the communication section. Two of the direct reports recorded something similar alluding to the issues that the team manager did not provide enough information regarding updates from other departments and important changes in any of the current IT projects that the team was working on.
Interestingly, the manager also rated himself highly on another question in the communication group: ' he stays focused on the situation, the issue or behaviour, not on the personalities.' Once again, the direct reports noted that this was not a strong area of communication for the IT manager and rated him accordingly. Again, this question was highlighted as red due to the sizable gap in perception. The consultant looked through the feedback from the open questions again and saw that one of the team members noted their manager often shuts them down when they ask questions. This meant that the manager often blamed the direct reports for problems that arose simply because they did not fully understand the situation. However, the manager genuinely believed that he provided adequate detail. The department manager explained that he often got so frustrated when his team came to him individually a couple of days after receiving updates asking questions about all the developments. The questions cut into his busy time and interrupted him when he was trying to be productive and achieve deadlines. These frustrations led him to focus on his annoyance of team members rather than the issue at hand, which came across as him focusing on the personalities rather than the issues.
Developing a 360 Feedback Program
As a result, the total scores and open questions revealed an actionable gap between how the department manager believed he communicated and how his team perceived he communicated. Using the 360
feedback assessment the consultant worked with the department manager to detail three focus areas of communication that needed development. These included how he communicated, developing listening skills, and thirdly actively generating room for communication. As an action plan, the department manager was given coaching to improve the amount of detail he gave to his direct reports, scheduling gaps in his day to make time for listening to questions from his team and actively asking them if they had any questions as well. On the other side of it, working with the team, the consultant worked with individual members to implement some communication processes that helped them, and everyone increased clarity and productivity.
Due to the results from the 360 assessment, the company now has a systematic approach to leadership development that corresponds to the business's objectives. This particular company currently conducts 360 feedback reports every year to ensure the company is working efficiently.
Creating 360 Feedback Questions
In this case study, the consultant developed their set of questions specific to the company's goals. You can do this too. When creating your questions, you can choose to align them with a project, a department or company objectives. You can build your question groups such as communication, motivation, or leadership. Within those groups, you can also design precise questions. The questions can be skill-based or attitude-based, so not just behavioural. Businesses often include open-ended questions as they give the response groups a chance to explain or provide further comment in a particular area. All of course, while feeling safe and providing their actual perspective because the whole thing is anonymous. However, many templates are already implemented within the FinxS Online Assessment System that you can use or modify. These are questionnaires that are already well thought out and include questions that reflect some common issues in themes and business. These questions are centred around leadership, management, and sales or, of course, develop your own. Remember, if you'd like to conduct an Open 360, ensure that you have full rights to access the templates in your FinxS account. You can ask either your master trainer or HR Profiling if you need too.
360 Feedback Results
The results of the open 360 can be displayed in so many different ways. It's really up to you how you feel you'd like to view them. Using the FinxS Online Platform, you can view results in graphical format or analyse tables with numbers! On-screen, you can see some examples of the available formats. There is a table, a line chart, a bar chart and a spiderweb chart. You can completely customise the report to your or your client's needs.
The blind spots report has a slightly different interpretation and format. The blind spot report provides impressive insights and can demonstrate the difference in perception between the self and other respondents. Again, you can view this in different ways like a bar, column or line chart. Our clients tend to leave it in table form as it is easiest to interpret and identify the gap size. The red gap indicates a significant difference between a self-assessment score and the score received from other assessors. A green mark indicates the scores are closely aligned, and the yellow means there is a moderate difference between the self-assessment and the assessors. The gap analysis can go deeper than that and help determine whether it is a large or medium gap that is positive or negative. While the blind spots can bring up development issues, it can also highlight where a person is overly critical of themselves or excessively self-assured. If you look on screen at the current slide of the coloured charts, you can see what the yellow means when it's negative versus the yellow meaning when it's positive and the same with the red colour. You can see just how powerful the blind spot indicators are when trying to analyse specific areas as they do give a reality check on perception.
Lastly, I wanted to tell you about some of the open 360 workbooks that have recently been developed, and they are available to you in the VIP area or from your FinxS provider. There are two, one is the candidate's workbook, and one is for the consultants. These are fabulous for helping you to understand what you're looking at and how to carry on and look at creating action plans. The candidate's workbook contains questions to aid action planning, and the consultant workbook contains information to help interpret the tables and graphs.
The Importance of Perception
Using an open 360 report is a vital part of performance growth and development. Understanding ourselves and how we interact with others helps us understand our impact on those around us. The perceptions of others within our circle of influence, whether those perceptions are accurate or inaccurate, often impact our level of success. It's been said that perception is reality in the workplace. If perceptions aren't managed, they can lead to conflict disillusionment in communication and culture. Most people are pretty uncomfortable providing direct feedback, so genuine feedback is frequently hidden, making our reputation how others perceive us either an asset or an issue, especially in the workplace. Most leaders typically don't receive genuine feedback often, and it's probably pretty fair to say that we can tend to invent perceptions of our own performance without honest feedback. How can we then develop ourselves or even high-performing teams if underlying issues are floating around that need to be resolved first?
If we can receive practical and constructive feedback in the form of an open 360 feedback report, it can provide vital information that lets us know not only how we're doing but a direction for growth if we need it.
If you are considering implementing 360 feedback in your organisation, please contact our team to discuss your needs.