Putting a band-aid on cancer

Today’s the day for a rant. Again.

I’m going to let rip on one of my favourite soapbox topics.

Anonymous 360 degree feedback processes; put very simply, are a blight on the business landscape. They have to be eradicated - wiped off the face of the earth as soon as possible. Given I don’t have a cure for war or poverty, I am going to start here.

Disclaimer; many years ago, we used to deliver 360’s as part of our suite of business products. But after seeing good careers almost derailed, we quickly changed our views on the usage of a flawed feedback model. Then we realised they served a purpose for only two areas:

  1. Enabling poor feedback cultures, usually from the top down; 
  2. Putting money in the pockets of consultants and executive coaches.

Now I don’t know about you, but neither of those help you achieve the feedback and change you are looking for.

It’s pretty simple really. If you have to go anonymous to get ‘real feedback’ then you quite clearly have a much, much bigger problem in your feedback culture. 360’s are like putting a bandaid on cancer.

You might protest; “But wait...I’ve had a 360 in the past, and I got heaps out of it.” To be honest, if you had spent $12.00 on three cups of coffee (instead of over $500-$3500 for a 360 report and debrief) you would’ve probably got a better result.

So get back to having real conversations, not anonymous ones. It’s how trust is built. Take time to build a feedback culture, equip the people around to have conversations about  tough topics, and don’t take the easy, but ultimately destructive option. Embracing compassionate, ‘tough love’ means you can love the tough stuff.

Rant over...for now.