We’ve been asked by many of our customers for periodic, no-nonsense emails with just-in-time information for managers and knowledge workers on how organizations work. This is our 43rd issue and we hope you enjoy it. Past issues are available on our website.
Michelle Collins wrote this book back in 2000 when 360s were becoming popular. She and I had worked on a 360 process for a major corporation and we both agreed that managers needed to understand how this tool could be used for their development. The book is no longer available in print but is an e-book and pdf format and the content is still relevant. The chapters are:
What is a 360 Feedback Process
The Meaning Behind the Numbers
Translating Results into Action
Common Uses of 360s
The 360 Survey 360-instruments are key to development because they let you compare how you rate your performance to way others rate that same performance. Since people view reality through a unique perspective, naturally they will have different opinions on what is happening. It's helpful then to compare notes every so often to communicate those different views. A 360-feedback instrument does that for a leader and good feedback will help him adjust actions to become better at leading.
The downside of 360s is that sometimes the instrument became a weapon in the hands of an angry rater. If there was only a numerical rating system with no chance to write comments, low ratings were chosen with no further explanation. If raters could write comments, often they were used to attack the leader. I've been in many a debrief session where we tried to make sense of the low ratings or the leader spent the entire time trying to decide who wrote which comment. That's a shame because there is potentially so much valuable information within a 360 for the very reason it is a chance for honest and anonymous feedback.
So when Inscape Publishing announced they were testing a 360, I volunteered to help with the beta test. As you know I sell Inscape products, and I do so because they are committed to research and creative products. Their new 360 called Everything DiSC ® 363™ For Leaders does everything right.
First, it is focused. The 363 stands for a 360 with 3 strategies to focus on to answer the 'what's next' they often ask when they get their feedback. Those 3 strategies are distilled from all the rater feedback including raters having an opportunity to say what they want the leader to "do more" of and why.
Second they solved the snide comment problem. They created a feature called CommentSmart, which is a drop-down menu of comments raters can choose from to give the leader constructive feedback. The comments have been actually written by raters and the database is constantly being updated. In fact, raters can write in suggestions; they just won't appear in that leader's report. This ensures that the comments are of a constructive nature. During the testing phase, Inscape found that the raters loved the feature as it saved them time and they liked being able to add explanations to the numerical rating.
Third, this 360 includes a DiSC style assessment that the leader takes. Those style tendencies are considered along with the performance ratings to get the 3 recommended strategies. This is very helpful since style tendencies do have an impact on performance. The DiSC scale used in this product is part of the new Application Library model and reflects the latest leadership research. I think it's very intuitive and relevant. If you haven't tried this new DiSC, you will be impressed; it's come a long way from the DiSC model used 30 years ago that some other DiSC providers are still using. You can read the research report on our website.
Fourth, there is no limit to the number of raters...including managers...which is great when you have more than one boss. It's also helpful to invite a larger number of raters because ultimately some do not choose to participate. Many 360s products limit the number or charge per rater so this is a real plus. Raters will also find it is a lot quicker to complete the rating because of the CommentSmart feature. And without a limit on raters, you can consider inviting 'others' such as customers or vendors to become raters thus expanding the scope of your circle of feedback.
Fifth, there is a second report available for the person who will debrief the leader. Called the Coaching Supplement it shows the leader's ratings compared to norms for all leaders. Since this is a new product these are very recent norms and will continue to be updated. This report also shows a rank order of what the raters want the leader to 'do more' of in their leadership practice. If you are the person who debriefs these reports, this supplement will save you a lot of preparation time.
363 For Leaders - Try It For Free!
I've used several different 360s in my work as a consultant. This one however is the one that I believe most managers will actually benefit from because it is so action oriented, useful and most importantly positive and constructive.
If you are a client organization of Thin Book Publishing, we will allow one person in your organization to receive a 363 for Leaders report if it is completed by November 1, 2010.
You must contact me byemailto set this up but there are no catches to this. It's that good a product. Both Inscape and I stand behind it so much, we're willing to put this kind of time and money behind it to show you.
The Everything DiSC 363 For Leaders also is available for purchase for your organization or your clients. If you are a coach, this is a great product for you and you might want to consider setting up a sub-account for your name and logo to appear on the report. You can email me for more details on that. Price is determined by whether we administer the report and if a debriefing meeting is held. More
Thin Book of 360 Feedback PDF ebook on Sale!
The Thin Book of 360 Feedback ebook provides great support for any 360 process. The PDF version of the book will be on sale throughout August and September at $6 (a 25% savings!). More