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13 Common Mistakes Using 360-Degree Feedback
Here’s how to avoid some common mis-steps when implementing multirater feedback
By Scott Wimer & Kenneth M. Nowack ____________________________________________________________
Imagine having returned from a conference where you heard reports on the power of 360-degree or multi-rater feedback. Excited by the Prospect of introducing it in your organization you start sharing your enthusiasm and find that others are interested and receptive. After much discussion, you receive the go-ahead from your manager. Now, your challenge is to figure out the best way to implement it. First, you ...view middle of the document...
Here are 13 common mistakes to avoid when implementing a multi-rater assessment: Mistake l: Having no clear Purpose: One of the main reasons for the unsuccessful implementation of a 360-degree feedback process is the lack of a clear purpose. The feedback doesn’t address an organizational performance issue or strategic need. Instead it’s being done because it’s the latest management trend, because a senior manager thinks it’s a good idea, or because a recent benchmarking study reports that word-class organizations are doing it. Many organizations use 360 degree systems trying to address specific performance issues and problems. Similarly, training and performance improvement consultants, in their never-ending search for the latest cutting-edge tools, may unwittingly recommend interventions that appear exciting, without regard to whether they fit the culture of the organization or address important needs.
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Suggestion. Performing an intervention without a clear purpose is like prescribing an antibiotic for a virus; it doesn’t treat the underlying problems and may lead to undesirable outcomes. Multi-rater interventions can be powerful. They should be designed and implemented to address specific business and strategic needs. For example, managers may need to enhance the critical competencies for competitive performance, based on feedback from multiple internal and external stakeholders. Or people may be operating “in a vacuum” and need to open channels of feedback to be able to serve customers better. Or the compensation and reward systems may be outdated and 360-degree feedback may be a way to bring about actual or symbolic change. Or the organizational hierarchy may have become rigid and 360-degree feedback is a way to develop a different culture that emphasizes continuous feedback and improvement. Whatever the needs, it’s imperative to have a clear and well-defined understanding or contract with employees on why the organization’s undertaking a 360-degree feedback process. ideally, the process should be designed for a specific purpose (for example, management development, succession planning, performance management, coaching, or career development). It shouldn’t be to meet the needs of often conflicting human resource systems. It’s also a poor idea to use 360 feedback just because other organizations are doing it or you’ve been given a green light by a self-diagnosing client who’d like to give it a try. That generality results in an intervention that misses the mark, which can undermine any future events to use a 360-degree process when organizational conditions may be more conductive. Mistake 2: Using it as a substitute Multi-rater feedback isn’t a substitute for managing a poor performer. It’s a process for helping people gain a rich, accurate perspective on how others view their management practices, interpersonal style, and effectiveness .It shouldn’t take...