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360 DEGREE FEEDBACK

How to Choose the Right 360 Feedback Tool for Your Company

Searching for a 360 Feedback tool? No need to get overwhelmed by all of the choices. An internet search on 360 degree feedback yields a plethora of results.  In fact, I just searched '360 degree feedback' now and found over 9 million results! It seems that solution providers have appeared out of nowhere.  Unfortunately, many of these vendors are offering services with little or no experience and expertise.  Given the impact and importance of 360 degree feedback, it is important to do your research.
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PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Virtual Performance Management: Lessons from Yahoo's Telecommuting Ban

The cyber revolt against Marissa Mayer’s telecommuting ban has been fast and furious. “Aren’t flexible working relationships, flip flops and free lunch the mainstay perks of tech companies?!” netizens shouted. While Yahoo bucking the work from home trend has largely been voted a fail across the web – even Richard Branson weighed in on his blog – this action brings to the forefront some absolutely huge employee performance management issues that must be addressed by leaders managing a virtual workforce. Management Gone Too Far? Although many branded the move as retro (not in a good way), Mayer likely believed that this decision was essential for moving Yahoo’s culture forward and is being employed as only one of many reinvention strategies. While we are certainly not privy to all of the internal justifications, a Yahoo source informed All Things D (the original recipient of the leaked HR memo) that in certain cases the arrangements were allowing for lackluster performance and a focus on side projects at the expense of real work. Further, the official HR note blames working from home for sub par “speed and quality”, while insisting that physical presence in the office will enhance “communication and collaboration”, and “decisions and insights”. These are certainly very realistic performance expectations for any organization. The problem is that this is a bandage solution and is unlikely to address the root of what is likely a leadership issue.  I have some questions: Has Yahoo HR conducted research (as the Google People Analytics team does with PiLab) showing that telecommuting is a driver of the factors mentioned in the HR communication? Is there evidence that office staff are more productive than telecommuters? Have they drilled down into the data for specific business units, departments or managers where the issues are occurring to reinforce key leadership and managerial competencies that drive high performance and engagement? Have senior managers been held accountable for their virtual team’s execution of strategic objectives linked to the Yahoo reinvention?  Likely not - otherwise HR surely would have backed up these claims in their memo. My colleagues and I have worked with many management teams with challenging cultural issues, and in the midst of large scale organizational change efforts. Establishing and communicating specific standards of performance and holding managers and teams accountable can effectively change the direction of an organization -- sometimes overnight. It is our recommendation that Yahoo employees be evaluated on a comprehensive set of competency-based behavioral standards including, for example, displaying a sense of urgency in accomplishing tasks; maintaining regular and open lines of communication; making effective team-based decisions; and providing insights that challenge the status quo and push the organization forward. As highlighted in a recent Harvard Business Review blog post by Keith Ferrazzi, we must avoid managing by observation – the early in, last to leave employee may not necessarily be the most productive or even a high performer . Instead, HR needs to provide senior leadership with tools for measuring both the “what” and “how” of performance. When these metrics are utilized the “where” factor is not important – after all, one virtual employee may sacrifice quality to avoid missing yoga, while another is scheduling conference calls with Australia at 10 p.m. to close deals. The most effective way to measure performance is always about both goal accomplishment and the behavioral competencies one utilizes in their work. Both are readily measured when done correctly, even during “virtual observation”.
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360 DEGREE FEEDBACK

Top 3 Characteristics of an Awesome 360 Feedback Process

Organizations that implement highly successful 360 programs have a few secrets to running such successful feedback initiatives. And they're not sharing...but we are! 360 Feedback is as hot as it's ever been. In the past 20 years we have seen an acceleration in 360 feedback initiatives and many different approaches on how this can be accomplished. Of course with these different approaches we have seen some that are more successful than others. Over our many years of conducting 360 Degree Feedback initiatives we have surfaced the top three characteristics for a successful 360 feedback program. While there are certainly other factors that contribute to the program’s success, we know that these three are fundamental to achieving the full benefits of 360 feedback.  1. Clearly Define the Process and Messaging  Before any 360 Degree Feedback initiative begins, there should be a clear purpose defined. Decisions need to be made on how the data will be used: Will this be strictly for development? Will there be some type of linkage with succession planning processes? Will this be used to drive training initiatives or other leadership development programs? Deciding on these important variables before the 360 process begins ensures that your positioning will be clear and participant confusion can be avoided. 2. Identify the Survey Questions that are Most Relevant for Your Business The leadership skills and behaviors deemed most important for one organization are not necessarily the same for another. Depending on the culture of the organization and the stage of growth these behavior and criteria could differ considerably. For smaller organizations that may not have the resources to develop a competency model or customized 360 feedback survey, a standard leadership assessment tool is fine as long as the questions can still be tailored. We take this approach frequently with our smaller client organizations where we provide the 360 leadership survey developed by our Industrial Organizational Psychologists and tailor the questions to be specific to our clients. This is a very efficient and effective method for getting the questions right within a limited budget and timeframe. Survey length is also a very important factor to consider when deciding on a set of survey questions. The 360 survey should never be longer than 50-60 items. A survey longer than that will inevitably result in survey fatigue so we recommend a very focused, targeted set of questions - ideally no more than 50 items. 3. Develop a Well Thought Out Plan for Feedback Delivery It’s important to have a plan for feedback delivery at the beginning of a 360 feedback initiative so this can be clearly communicated to the participants in advance. The more information is communicated to the participants up front, the more you ease any apprehension and minimize confusion around the process. For higher-level leaders (e.g., executives) we always recommend one-on-one coaching with an external coach. In our experience, when clients have attempted to coach these leaders internally, there is often apprehension about giving direct feedback when it comes to areas for development. An external coach has no internal political pressure to side-step these issues. For mid-level managers and individual contributors a group feedback delivery session is not only very well received but also cost-effective. This format typically involves first setting the stage for what to expect when participants see their report.  In our training sessions, we first address the typical reactions people experience when receiving feedback. This prepares people for receiving information on their strengths as well as development areas (for more detail on strategies to keep in mind while interpreting the 360 report, see 360 Feedback- No Sweat..Even in this Heat!). We then provide a sample 360 feedback report so participants understand how to interpret each section when they receive their own report. Last, we provide the actual feedback reports to each individual and then move to action planning for development. Bringing managers or individual contributors together with their peers in this type of setting offers an opportunity to share best practices, openly discuss strategies for development planning and even form stronger relationships as they are working on an initiative that require sharing a bit of personal information.
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PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Performance Evaluation Season is Officially Closed!

Performance Feedback Fatigue? If all of those ratings, comment reviews, and one-on-one meetings have left you with a bad case of feedback fatigue, you needn’t worry – it is about time to put it all to rest. Before you call it a wrap though, use this time to conduct a post-mortem audit that will help identify what worked best – and what must be changed going forward.
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360 DEGREE FEEDBACK

360 Degree Feedback Still Shines Bright - If You Do It Right

  Don't let the lights go out on your 360 degree feedback process!
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360 DEGREE FEEDBACK

Exposing the Truth About 360 Degree Feedback - Part 2

Part 2 - The Dark Side of 360 Read Exposing the Truth About 360 Degree Feedback - Part 1.
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360 DEGREE FEEDBACK

Exposing the Truth About 360 Degree Feedback - Part 1

Part 1: The Positivist View Sadly….after all of this time…360 Degree Feedback is still misunderstood.
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PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Executing Performance Goals - The Beginning of the End

The clock is ticking and as of now we’re keeping score. Yes, it’s September – the beginning of the end - your last shot at ensuring your team knocks out that bevy of performance goals before your manager and the entire senior leadership team weighs in on your departments’ 2012 performance.  
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