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Is 360 Degree Feedback Enough or There Is a Reason for 720 Degrees?
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Is 360 Degree Feedback Enough or There Is a Reason for 720 Degrees?

by Ashok Grover

You have heard of 360 Degree Feedback. With its extension to external customers and sometimes, even Family Members, some experts start adding more 'degrees' and prefer to call it 540, 720 DF etc. Is it logical, and what really is meant by 720 degree feedback, is the discussion here!

360 Degree Feedback (360 DF), as you know, involves systematic collection and feedback of performance data for an individual derived from a number of stakeholders in their performance - typically Self, Boss, Peers (which include Internal Customers) and Subordinates. Many a times External Customers and sometimes, even Family Members are included. 360 DF in itself is a very sensitive instrument and must be used with utmost care. Undoubtedly, its scope and effectiveness may increase tremendously with the inclusion of friends and family members. On the other hand, these relationships are extremely delicate and make it far more serious. How much of these one would like to share with superiors / mentors may remain a big question mark to decide on their inclusion or otherwise. But, as you include these categories, some people add more 'degrees' and prefer to call it 540, 720 DF etc.

While views differ, I wonder how can the full circle go beyond 360 degrees. In fact, after 360, it can only be repeating the original one! And lo, that gives you a much more logical and powerful conclusion. 360 DF gives you the feedback, which if not acted upon, is merely a piece of dry information. Only the real action can result in improvement. I use the word 'can' till you really measure it and show it. And the measurement is conducting the 360 DF again - may be after six months or a year. Since you have repeated this full circle, you may call it 720 degree feedback.

Thus, the 720 DF may be defined as 360 degree feedback done twice - conducting it once, analyzing the results, charting out an action plan, taking action and repeating the 360 DF to see how the initiatives taken have resulted into improvements. What I normally say about 360 DF is that conducting the survey is just 10% of the whole exercise and the balance 90% comes only when you take some action on ground. Unfortunately, in majority of the cases, it does not move beyond 10, 20, 30% and all your time, effort and money spent goes down the drain. This 720 DF will ensure that it becomes a real meaningful exercise, well beyond just a fashion statement.

An effective procedure to measure improvements and receive feedback is essential for the success of any developmental initiative. This gives a pre and post intervention result. The first 360 DF exercise may be called the pre-intervention one and its results set the base line. The development interventions may include self initiatives as well as support like training, coaching, mentoring and on-the-job activities. The post-intervention 360 DF will then show the extent of improvement in the results over time.

One might wonder if two cycles mean 720, will the addition go on and on. Certainly not. The term 720 DF only indicates that it is not a one time meaningless exercise. All said and done, dear reader, at the end of it, the name does not really matter. It is the intent (and action) what makes difference. If you are doing the whole exercise seriously and making a difference to your personal and professional life, and still want to call it 360 DF or simply Multi Rater Feedback, by all means... Go for it.



Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6129305

360 Degree Feedback (360 DF), as you know, involves systematic collection and feedback of performance data for an individual derived from a number of stakeholders in their performance - typically Self, Boss, Peers (which include Internal Customers) and Subordinates. Many a times External Customers and sometimes, even Family Members are included. 360 DF in itself is a very sensitive instrument and must be used with utmost care. Undoubtedly, its scope and effectiveness may increase tremendously with the inclusion of friends and family members. On the other hand, these relationships are extremely delicate and make it far more serious. How much of these one would like to share with superiors / mentors may remain a big question mark to decide on their inclusion or otherwise. But, as you include these categories, some people add more 'degrees' and prefer to call it 540, 720 DF etc.

While views differ, I wonder how can the full circle go beyond 360 degrees. In fact, after 360, it can only be repeating the original one! And lo, that gives you a much more logical and powerful conclusion. 360 DF gives you the feedback, which if not acted upon, is merely a piece of dry information. Only the real action can result in improvement. I use the word 'can' till you really measure it and show it. And the measurement is conducting the 360 DF again - may be after six months or a year. Since you have repeated this full circle, you may call it 720 degree feedback.

Thus, the 720 DF may be defined as 360 degree feedback done twice - conducting it once, analyzing the results, charting out an action plan, taking action and repeating the 360 DF to see how the initiatives taken have resulted into improvements. What I normally say about 360 DF is that conducting the survey is just 10% of the whole exercise and the balance 90% comes only when you take some action on ground. Unfortunately, in majority of the cases, it does not move beyond 10, 20, 30% and all your time, effort and money spent goes down the drain. This 720 DF will ensure that it becomes a real meaningful exercise, well beyond just a fashion statement.

An effective procedure to measure improvements and receive feedback is essential for the success of any developmental initiative. This gives a pre and post intervention result. The first 360 DF exercise may be called the pre-intervention one and its results set the base line. The development interventions may include self initiatives as well as support like training, coaching, mentoring and on-the-job activities. The post-intervention 360 DF will then show the extent of improvement in the results over time.

One might wonder if two cycles mean 720, will the addition go on and on. Certainly not. The term 720 DF only indicates that it is not a one time meaningless exercise. All said and done, dear reader, at the end of it, the name does not really matter. It is the intent (and action) what makes difference. If you are doing the whole exercise seriously and making a difference to your personal and professional life, and still want to call it 360 DF or simply Multi Rater Feedback, by all means... Go for it.

Ashok Grover is an expert in people assessment and focused executive / leadership coaching. He is Director at Skillscape, a company with a vision of Value Creation by enhancing people and organizational competencies.

His last assignment was with the JBM Group as Corporate Chief Human Resource Officer. He has over four decades of experience in operations, materials, information technology and people development with Parle Group, Mohan Meakins Group, Hawkins Cookers Limited and JBM Group.

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