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A Blog Post

Face-to-Face 360s

Authenticity releases energy, creativity, and TRUST.
Anonymity perpetuates suspicion which cultivates fear.

While participating in a 360 feedback, a top executive was completing the anonymous questionnaire when he realized he had some difficult thoughts to offerand that his colleague was in his office down the hall. He thought to himself, What am I doing? Bill is just a few doors away!” So he went down the hallsat down with Bill, and utilized the Leaders Leading Leaders® straight talk method for offering candid inthemoment responses. Eventually, entire teams at that organization participated in Face-to-Face 360s feedback with each other.

The feedback from anonymous 360s helps individuals grow by offering valuable insights about their strengths, weaknesses, and challenges. At the same time it can unintentionally arouse suspicion between people. I wonder who said that about me? Over time this suspicion can shut down difficult conversations, inhibit candid interactions, deplete energy, block information flow, erode trust, impede wise decisions, and damage productivity. These byproducts of the anonymous 360 often go undetected, invading an organization’s culture like a cancer.

Anonymous 360 Feedback assists in personal development at the risk of relational trust. Face-to-Face 360s accelerate personal growth while building relational trust, the foundation of persistent success.

According to recent research from Accenture, top performers are significantly more likely to solicit one-to-one feedback than typical performers. Why not incorporate Face-to-Face 360s with Anonymous 360s to build a company of top performers rather than an outlier or two? Building a culture of transparency through Face-to-Face 360s leverages the only sustainable competitive advantage that companies can completely control: their human capital/culture.

Just this morning I was on a call with a top executive in a global industry leader, and I heard the statement “roles and responsibilities interchange regularly, and who reports to who is an afterthought.” In todays matrixed, crossfunctional organizations, that is, teams of leaders consistently gather without respect to defined chains of authority. Yet unless these teams develop the capacity to practice live, real time observations, crucial feedback must wait for the stamp of the formal leader, even if that leader rarely witnesses the multiple cross functional teams his/her direct reports participate on. This reality affirms the importance of a 360 feedback and the importance of a real time (not delayed until the annual review), authentic (face-to-face, not anonymous) feedback loop.

Benefits include:
  •   Releasing energy
  •   Accelerating improvement
  •   Saving time
  •   Feeding excellence
  •   Building TRUST, which spawns open conversations, builds intellectual capital, and leads to wise decisions.
Principles informing Face-to-Face 360s include:
  •   By changing ourselves we invite others to change themselves.
  •   We cant fundamentally change others.
  •   We can sometimes make others comply, but we cant force others to commit.
  •   Offering live, in the moment feedback serves as a mirror to others.
  •   If accepted, this mirror increases awareness and generates inner change/commitment.
Steps for Face-to-Face 360s:
  1. Assess readiness
  2. Equip participants
  3. Activate the process

Face-to-Face 360s begin with an assessment of the organizations, teams or individuals readiness for Face-to-Face feedback. From here we customize a Face-to-Face 360s readiness program that may include emphases such as talking straight in a manner that keepsconversations/relationships open. Part of the process is cultivating skills of listening, even actively reflecting, what you dont want to hear without defensiveness.

  1. Review, deepen and refresh the common purpose. 
  2. Commit anew to the common purpose and foster willingness to give and receive feedback to achieve shared desired outcomes. 
  3. Start with whats working. Identify how to leverage strengths and then explore obstacles.

Refreshing commitment to purpose and leveraging strengths creates a positive, depersonalized assessment process that supports team members’ desire to receive real time feedback so they can contribute all they can to the success of the team or organization.   

Audience Who should consider Face-to-Face 360s?
  •   Excellent teams who long to experience more trust and greatness
  •   Organizations and teams who have benefited from anonymous 360s and want to build upon this success
  •   Executives dealing with underperforming team members
  •   Organizations vigilant about creating a transparent culture built on trust rather than fear.
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