Take a 360 degree look around

The scene

A business is growing well but with this growth comes change—changing roles and changing skills. While change is inevitable and important, it can leave staff unsettled, stressed and dissatisfied.

The question is what to do about it.

At first this business intended to just tell staff to ‘get on with it’. But they wondered if taking stock on the type and pace of change would determine if refinements were needed to get the whole team motivated to take the business to the next level.

The challenge was that the business owner didn’t have time to assess matters, wasn’t sure how to and wondered if they were the best one to lead the charge given their involvement in setting the course of change.

The solution

An external efficiency expert experienced in conducting 360-degree reviews is what the business needed. These reviews test what skills a business has and what skills they don’t have. The results help identify gaps and fill them.

A 360-degree review assists each person in a business—at all levels—to understand their strengths and weaknesses. It also provides insights into professional development needs.

We supported one client to conduct such a review done quickly so they could move forward quickly. As external and objective reviewers we conduct 360s without emotion. We view all facets of a business from a non-judgemental, neutral and unattached perspective. We first gather the facts, analyse them and make informed recommendations on where a business needs to go—for individual staff, the team as a whole and the business overall.

Our 360-degree reviews enable everyone to understand how their effectiveness is viewed by others, including managers, colleagues and staff. The most effective 360s provide feedback based on real behaviours and behaviours other employees can see. This, in turn, provides insight into the skills and behaviours organisations need to deliver goals and objectives.

One big advantage is that a 360-degree review is held around a two-way communications exchange, not a one-way information flow. It opens the door to meaningful discussion, horizontally and vertically.

Another advantage is that 360s identify skills team members have that haven’t been identified—skills that would be beneficial to the business. They also position staff to feel free to put forth ideas, important for buy-in during growth.

Some businesses get stuck because the person conducting the review is emotionally attached which can skew results. Staff get nervous to speak (can you blame them?) and management gets agitated believing staff are hiding things (which is unfair).

When we conduct 360-degree reviews we systematically ask questions like:

  • Are the right people in the right role?
  • Do they have the relevant skill set needed to manage the growth?
  • Do you need to invest in training and development to assist the team?
  • Do you need to bring in external help to assist with the change management?
  • If external help is needed how do you manage the internal staff dynamics of outsiders coming in and working with existing staff?
  • Does the organisational structure need to change?  If so, how so and at what pace?
  • Are there staff who may have previously unnoticed skills and experience that may help the growth phase proceed?
  • Are there conflicts, tensions that need to be resolved that may be affecting the growth dynamics?
  • How will the company measure and track success?

Results

The results of 360 degree reviews can be mind-blowing, as they were with one business we worked with. Omania Terry, efficiency expert, led the review. Results led to a plan to address key findings, including that the CEO needed his team to work cohesively and independently and the CEO needed to be more present. The CEO also needed an office manager with the right skills who would exercise initiative and keep him organised.

At the end of two weeks the business had shifted dramatically. Everyone understood each other much better and respect increased. Everyone was committed to change and determined to implement solutions.

With another business, Omania Terry, efficiency expert, completed 360-degree reviews that resulted in a saving of more than $280,000. The business didn’t recruit new people as initially intended. Instead, it uncovered skills and expertise that weren’t being used, switching staff roles and responsibilities to maximise productivity.

Learn more about the huge impact our 360 degree reviews can have.

Tips

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of external expertise.
  2. Don’t be afraid of 360 reviews—they can be really empowering.
  3. Be aware that making decisions, such as recruiting new staff, without having properly researched the ‘why’ can cost you.
  4. Be aware that an efficiency expert, using 360 reviews, can save you a lot of money.

Comments are closed for this post.