Getting 360-Degree Feedback Right

“If a single e-mail can send the pulse racing, it’s the one from human resources announcing that it’s time for another round of 360-degree feedback” – Maury Peiperl.

While its popularity has ebbed and flowed over the past few decades, with the process receiving both praise and criticism, at The Beacon Group we have always maintained that it is the execution of 360° Feedback, and not the process itself, that results in negative outcomes. At its best, we believe 360° Feedback can significantly impact and improve both individual and organizational performance, taking individuals, teams and businesses to new heights. At its worst, however, 360° Feedback can fail simply by being ineffective or, more significantly, by wasting a company’s valuable time and resources and potentially harming individual, team or organizational performance overall.

In the following Harvard Business Review article, Maury Peiperl outlines the ambivalence, as well as the practical but not unsurmountable obstacles encountered, when organizations attempt to implement a 360° Feedback process. After a decade of studying the theory and practice of 360° Feedback, Peiprl describes the various features of the feedback process, each at their best and worst, breaking the potential hurdles into 4 apparent paradoxes, and describing in detail how they can impact the feedback process and how they can be overcome.

Despite its original publish date, I continue to find this piece to be comprehensive, relevant, and much in line with my own views on collecting feedback of any kind within organizations. And while there is no singular, ultimate, proven methodology for conducting 360° Feedback, there are a number of well-supported approaches to consider around implementation, positioning, and follow-up.

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