How to Use 360 Assessments

Working with a client last week on building trust in their company, on of the suggestions was to do 360 assessments on the executive.

No. Just. No.

Trust is build over time  through relationships. Preferably face-to-face.

360s are a development tool. They only (in my experience) work in high-trust environments. Do not use them to determine raises or anything else to do with an employee’s addiction to food, clothing, and shelter.

Otherwise you get this: 10 Ways to Sabotage a 360 Assessment

If you are going to use them,

  • be clear about their purpose (development), and get professional advice for implementing them. They are expensive (in terms of time and treasure), so target them at the right people.
  • do not use them to target people you need a reason to fire. If you need to fire somebody, fire them for the right reasons. Don’t make up excuses, diminish trust, or fail to have the constructive / courageous conversations you need to.
  • do not tie them to raises, promotions, or punishment. It reduces trust, increases the probability of people gaming the system, and makes them useless as far as personal development is  concerned. Base rewards and recognition on results, and individual’s contribution to the organization, and performance. 360s are a way to increase those factors, not punish a lack of them.
  • do not use them in low trust environments.
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