CREATING CHAMPIONS FOR 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK

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					                                                     IN THIS ARTICLE
                                                     Performance Appraisals




       CREATING
    CHAMPIONS FOR
 360 DEGREE FEEDBACK
                 resource manager                                                   anticipate and answer a broad range
Mhas withindelighted department
     ANY A HUMAN

thusiasm
         been
              the HRD
                        by the en-
                                             Here’s how to construct a              of likely questions on 360 feedback.
                                                                                       The final type of preparation re-
for the idea of implementing a 360          Stakeholder Map to identify             lates to each decision maker’s posi-
feedback program, only to discover                                                  tion on the subject of 360 feedback. Is
that those outside HRD in the organi-       key people and their degree             he or she likely to be receptive to the
zation were groaning at the prospect.                                               idea? If not, what might be causing
Staff and line managers in particular         of commitment for your                the lack of enthusiasm?
tend to think of 360 feedback as too                                                   Before you can create an effective
touchy-feely and as another HRD                  feedback initiative.               plan for turning key people into
brainchild that will waste their valu-                                              champions for your proposal, you
able time and budgets without pro-                                                  will need to decide exactly whose
ducing any noticeable results.                                                      support is vital and try to anticipate
   Unfortunately, such prophecies             BY RICHARD LEPSINGER                  their reactions. Once you’re clear on
tend to be self-fulfilling: If you don’t                                            those points, you are ready to take
have the support of line and staff peo-    AND ANTOINETTE D. LUCIA                  the next steps.
ple, it’s likely that any 360 program
will fail. So, how do you make sure                                                 Identifying key people
that doesn’t happen in your organiza-         Addressing their concerns shows       The easiest way to identify the key
tion and that you win the support of       how the feedback program can help        decision makers and stakeholders is
those people with their eyes fixed         solve a specific business problem or     to construct a Stakeholder Map. You
firmly on the bottom line? How do you      achieve a specific business goal. To     can do that alone, but you will get
make champions out of skeptics?            persuade them, there are three kinds     better results if you enlist colleagues
   Essentially, there are three things     of necessary preparation. First, you     involved in the 360 feedback project.
you need to do. One, you have to ad-       must have a sound grasp of what          Step 1: Make a list. List all of the
dress business concerns instead of         kind of business problem or need the     people who need to approve deci-
presenting a 360 program in terms of       organization is facing. You must also    sions. Then, list all of the individuals
psychological benefits or value for in-    have a lot of information at your fin-   and groups that might benefit, be af-
dividual growth. Two, you have to          gertips about 360 feedback and be        fected negatively, or be inconve-
solicit managers’ input on the pro-        able to relate it to the business need   nienced. Don’t overlook members of
gram’s goals. Make sure it is their pro-   or problem—ideally, by discussing        your own team, and look for hidden
gram and not just HRD’s. Three, you        how a similar issue was addressed        stakeholders—people who may have
will want to involve them in the plan-     successfully through the use of 360      personal reasons for not wanting this
ning and implementation.                   feedback. And you must be able to        initiative.


                                                                                Training & Development, February 1998 49
                                                                                           the vacuum is usually filled by anxi-
                                                                                           ety, rumors, and suspicion. What ex-
       A STAKEHOLDER MAP                                                                   actly is the business problem or
                                                                                           opportunity that the feedback pro-
                                                   Billing                                 posal is trying to address? Effective
                                                                      Customers            communication is the most powerful
                                                 Supervisor
                                                                                           tool for eliminating this type of resis-
                          Credit                                                           tance and for building support.
                        Supervisor                                                         Whether your 360 feedback process is
                                                                                           a major organizational intervention or
                                                                       M. Jones            a modest effort involving just a few
                                              J.                      VP, Human            people, you can never communicate
              B. Joyce VP,                Smith VP,                   Resources            too much or too often.
               Marketing                  Operations                                          When one of our clients decided to
                                                                                           use 360 feedback as part of a leader-
                                                                         Auditor           ship development and culture change
                                             Your                                          initiative, the CEO held a series of
                                            Name                                           meetings with senior people across
                  CEO                                                                      the organization to explain why the
                                             Your                  VP Accounting
                                            Project                                        project was important and what the
                                                                                           expected benefits were. In addition, a
                                                                                           senior manager kicked off each ses-
                                                                                           sion, answered questions about the
                                         William Boyd              MIS Contractor          business’s performance, and dis-
                 EVP
                                           VP, MIS                                         cussed why the 360 feedback effort
                                                                                           was necessary and timely. After those
                                                                                           meetings, the level of enthusiasm for
                                                                                           the project rose across the board.
     Step 2: Rate the stakeholders. Cate-        likely to react to your proposal. Be-     People aren’t involved in the plan-
     gorize the decision makers and stake-       fore you develop a plan for influenc-     ning. When stakeholders feel that
     holders you identified in step 1 as         ing them, it’s important to know what     their input hasn’t been taken into ac-
     positive or highly committed (+), neu-      each stakeholder stands to gain or        count in the planning, they’re less
     tral or willing to comply but not likely    lose if your program is implemented.      likely to be supportive. It’s human na-
     to be active advocates (0), negative or        Every stakeholder, whether an in-      ture for people to support what they
     likely to resist and oppose (-), or don’t   dividual or a group, will view your       help create. But apart from that issue,
     know (?). Try to put yourself in each       proposed program both from an or-         people want to be sure that their is-
     stakeholder’s shoes to view the initia-     ganizational and a personal perspec-      sues and needs will be addressed be-
     tive from his or her perspective.           tive. To better anticipate how they       fore they’re willing to commit to the
     Step 3: Draw a map. Next, draw a            will react, answer these questions        program.
     Stakeholder Map similar to the one in       from each stakeholder’s point of             The most straightforward way to
     the figure. Put circles around the          view: Does this project serve the in-     address that issue is to treat decision
     stakeholders likely to support your ef-     terests of my work unit (the part of      makers and other stakeholders as
     fort, triangles around stakeholders         the organization with which I identify    clients or customers. That means tak-
     likely to comply but not support ac-        most closely)? How might it affect me     ing time to understand their needs
     tively, squares around stakeholders         personally?                               and involving them from the earliest
     likely to resist, and nothing around                                                  stages of the decision-making pro-
     stakeholders you can’t categorize un-       Overcoming resistance                     cess. We suggest getting all of the
     til you collect more information. Put       Now that you have identified key          stakeholders involved in clarifying the
     the most important stakeholders—            stakeholders and the degree of sup-       business problem or need, identifying
     those with the most influence over          port you can expect, you need to fo-      the behaviors on which to give feed-
     your success or failure—close to the        cus on the stakeholders you believe       back, and deciding which method
     center of the map. Continue to collect      will resist the idea of using 360 feed-   will be used to collect data. You
     the information you need to complete        back and those whose commitment is        should also get their ideas on how to
     the map, and update it as you learn         required but from whom you can ex-        overcome any obstacles they believe
     more about your stakeholders.               pect only compliance. Begin by clari-     might stand in the way of successful
         Your next task is to analyze the        fying the possible reasons for their      implementation. A task force or tem-
     stakeholders. As a result of your map-      lack of commitment.                       porary committee is an effective vehi-
     ping activity, you identified all of the    The purpose isn’t made clear. When        cle for ensuring the involvement of
     important stakeholders and catego-          people don’t understand fully how         key individuals and building their
     rized them according to how they are        multisource feedback will be used,        consensus.


50    Training & Development, February 1998
   For example, a major bank used a
task force to create a coalition of sup-
port and to ensure that the needs of         COMMON CAUSES OF RESISTANCE
key people were always at the fore-
front of discussions and planning. At        Here are some typical reasons peo-      feedback would add value.
the earliest stages of the project, the      ple resist 360 feedback.                ◗ Encourage their participation.
senior vice president of human re-           ◗ The purpose of the feedback           Present your implementation plan
sources, who had been placed in              isn’t made clear.                       as tentative. Ask for their input on
charge of the 360 feedback effort, as-       ◗ Stakeholders aren’t involved in       how to make it effective.
sembled 20 of the most competent and         the planning.                           ◗ Form a task force made up of
respected managers in the company.           ◗ Stakeholders have negative per-       credible people who represent vari-
She made sure that each function and         ceptions about 360 feedback.            ous work units.
line of business was represented, as         ◗ Stakeholders are concerned            ◗ Make clear why and how this ef-
well as field employees. The task force      about how the feedback will be          fort will be different. Solicit sugges-
was involved in determining the pro-         used.                                   tions on how the problems people
ject’s goals, identifying competencies          Here are some recommended            experienced in the past can be
for effective job performance, select-       actions.                                avoided.
ing suppliers to support the task            ◗ Hold individual informal discus-      ◗ Get stakeholders to experience
force’s work, and developing and             sions with stakeholders to              the feedback process as it will be
monitoring implementation plans. The         review the reasons for the feedback     used in your organization. Give
high degree of participation saved           process and to answer any ques-         them the chance to evaluate it.
time and helped move the project             tions.                                  ◗ Begin by using 360 feedback for
along smoothly and on schedule. Be-          ◗ Link feedback to the attainment       development only.
cause problems and concerns were             of organizational goals while ex-       ◗ Describe how the accuracy of
identified and resolved early, there         plaining how people will benefit        the data and the integrity of the
were fewer false starts and less need to     personally.                             process will be assured.
revisit decisions and resell ideas.          ◗ Ask stakeholders to describe sit-     ◗ Give people control over their
People have negative perceptions.            uations in their units in which 360     feedback.
If previous efforts to use 360 feed-
back in the organization have had a
negative effect, you can expect a new      confused. We had been working with        improperly used feedback.
initiative to meet some sturdy resis-      them for several weeks to identify the       We recommend that, to start with,
tance. Your task will be harder if, for    key behaviors to measure, and they        360 feedback be used for develop-
example, the feedback was used in-         seemed enthusiastic and committed.        ment only, especially if it is the orga-
appropriately or a stakeholder re-         But as we approached the project          nization’s first experience. It’s less
ceived negative feedback without any       phase of actually using feedback, they    risky because people have more con-
support or facilitation to smooth his      raised questions about the potential      trol of the data and how it’s used. A
or her understanding—or if a stake-        negative effect on recipients’ morale     development-only approach also
holder contributed honest feedback         and motivation. They also wondered        gives people experience using multi-
and was punished for it.                   whether people are always able to         source feedback and helps them un-
   First, you must clarify the cause of    complete questionnaires honestly and      derstand how it can contribute to
a stakeholder’s negative perception.       accurately. As the discussion contin-     other HR management systems. If,
Is it based on firsthand experience?       ued, it dawned on us that a lack of       however, the feedback is intended for
Or is it a vague impression, perhaps       firsthand experience was at the root of   use in appraisal and compensation
caused by a colleague’s account? If it’s   their concerns. We found that only two    systems, the focus of your conversa-
the former, you can point to current       of the group’s 15 members had ever re-    tion with resisters should be on the
approaches for preventing the prob-        ceived or provided 360 feedback. Our      steps you have taken to ensure the
lems the stakeholder experienced,          solution was to make the task force a     data’s integrity and accuracy.
and you can ask for further sugges-        pilot group. Once the members experi-        Once you have determined each
tions. If the negative perception stems    enced the process themselves, their       stakeholder’s most likely cause of re-
from a general impression not based        anxiety and suspicion gave way to         sistance, you are ready to approach
on personal experience, the best way       wholehearted support.                     the resisters identified on your Stake-
to change the person’s mind is to let      Concerns about the feedback’s use.        holder Map. The box describes the
him or her experience the process in       Selling the idea of using 360 feedback    common causes of resistance and rec-
a way that is perceived to be risk-free.   for appraisal or compensation can be      ommended actions.
   When we first encountered resis-        more difficult than proposing its use
tance among members of a task force        for development purposes only.            Talking it through
that was helping plan the implementa-      Stakeholders may not want to be held      Before you approach the stakehold-
tion of a 360 feedback process in a        accountable for any potential prob-       ers to discuss their resistance, you
large chemicals company, we became         lems that could arise as a result of      should have a plan. You should


                                                                                 Training & Development, February 1998 51
     know exactly what you hope to            participative, or collaborative?          feedback program, you may want to
     achieve. For instance, how will you      ◗  Decide how you will begin the          keep questions and checklists close at
     know when you have gained their          conversation. What will be your           hand. You may find it useful to put
     commitment? What exactly do you          opening remarks?                          your plan on paper. But as you gain
     want them to do? Once you have           ◗ Think about what might make the         more experience in winning over
     made those determinations, flesh out     conversation easy, or difficult. What     people, you’ll find that you internal-
     your plan using these guidelines:        can you do to lessen the difficulty?      ize the process until it’s almost sec-
     ◗ Consider what you want the stake-         As you put your plan into action,      ond nature. Instead of mapping out
     holder to do—such as, lend his or her    you can increase the likelihood of        your discussions in laborious detail,
     name to the effort, champion actively,   success if you use your past experi-      you’ll be able to plan them while dri-
     or provide funding?                      ences with the stakeholder to identify    ving your car or even in mid-discus-
     ◗ Consider the stakeholder’s goals,      the potentially most effective ap-        sion. You may also find that the
     values, and needs.                       proach. You should anticipate his or      general techniques described here are
     ◗ Consider what concerns he or she       her objections and be prepared to an-     helpful in a broad range of situa-
     might have that would cause resis-       swer any questions or concerns with       tions—both in and outside of the
     tance.                                   well-thought-out responses. In ad-        workplace. s
     ◗ Determine what actions can ad-         dition, listen carefully. Show that you
     dress those concerns.                    are listening by paraphrasing what        Richard Lepsinger and Anntoinette
     ◗ Clarify the benefits of the propos-    he or she says and then address those     D. Lucia are managing partners at
     al—both organizational and personal.     issues directly. And be flexible. Be      Manus, 100 Prospect Street, South
     ◗ Consider the stakeholder’s possi-      willing to address problems and           Tower, Stamford, CT 06901. Phone
     ble objections. How will you re-         incorporate others’ suggestions and       203.326.3880; fax 203.326.3890.
     spond?                                   concerns into your planning.                 The article is based on an excerpt
     ◗ Determine the type of approach            When you first begin analyzing the     from The Art and Science of 360 o
     that is likely to work best with this    situation and determining what it will    Feedback, published by Pfeiffer, an
     person—fact-based, value-based,          take to create champions for your 360     imprint of Jossey-Bass.




52    Training & Development, February 1998