Aligning your top team around a new strategy takes, on average, about 2 years. Can you imagine if your organization could accomplish such alignment in 6 months?
Depending on your company, large-scale, 360-degree feedback at an organizational level could be the catalyst you need. It’s a tool that helps align leaders, create a sense of urgency for new business strategy, and ensure quick execution. Organizational 360-degree feedback could also serve as the starting point for a successful coaching program focused on change.
Think about a GPS.
In order to get where you want to go, your GPS first finds your current location. From there, the GPS – if working properly – will guide you to your end point, taking the fastest route possible. If you are going the wrong way, the GPS will alert you, but the journey cannot begin before the system defines your starting point.
In the same way, 360-degree feedback at the organizational level gives you the means to properly and accurately input your starting point based on evidence, not assumption. Without this starting point, you risk going off track, or at a minimum, taking a longer route than necessary. Within an organization, this wasted time can be far more costly and damaging than the frustration that might occur from driving in a vehicle with a GPS misdirecting you to your end point.
Organizational 360-degree feedback allows you to take stock of strength and development needs as well as the implicit leadership brand of your organization. It sits at the junction between the need to learn and grow and the need to align and commit. In addition, it helps people adjust their behaviors and mindsets to complement the new strategy.
Tips for 360 Success
Keep the following advice in mind if you are considering organizational 360-degree feedback:
- Align 360-degree feedback with your organizational goals. If it is not embedded in your overall leadership goals, you should probably not go down this road. Senior HR leaders should define the metrics and then work with other senior executives to ensure alignment.
- Remember, coaching is just 1 part of the equation – don’t overlook managing the process. It’s too easy to overlook the nuances and management that is required for a seamless coaching program and deployment of organizational 360-degree feedback. Failure to manage the details can be a painful process, regardless of the effectiveness of the actual coaches.
- Market effectively. Simply sending bland email communications to all employees about the unveiling of a coaching program is ineffective. It is essential that such a program be announced in a compelling and unique way that fosters engagement. Look beyond communicating about the new program and instead treat it as an internal marketing campaign that features several aspects of the program’s benefits.
- Follow-up. Many organizations leave their money on the table and don’t maximize the ROI potential because there is no follow-up. Insightful 360-feedback and an effective coaching experience for different team members is great, but if there is no follow-up, it’s a missed opportunity. Not all organizations have the budgets to continue paying coaches for ongoing support. If that’s the case, HR departments should fill in these gaps to provide the necessary follow-up.
Consider this Example…
Consider how we worked with a pharmaceutical company to execute these suggestions.
First, we worked with the head of HR to define how the coaching program connected to the overall leadership goals of the organization, and established the related metrics. We then partnered with the CEO for a presentation to the 10-member executive committee. They bought into the process, and then were able to share their enthusiasm for the program with their respective teams.
A dedicated team was put in place to manage the process. One individual on the client side was assigned to be a full-time program manager. Essentially, she was relieved of her normal day-to-day responsibilities to focus solely on managing the organizational 360-degree process.
As a global company striving to engage 500 individuals, a considerable amount of thought and organization went into how the 360-degree feedback was deployed. Surveys were distributed in batches to avoid employees thoughtlessly completing numerous surveys at once.
The company unveiled a brilliant marketing campaign to educate and engage the organization. The CEO sent an email to reaffirm senior leadership support. The email included a video from a well-respected director who described their enthusiasm for the feedback coaching program. It was important that this video message featured this “ambassador” rather than the CEO or HR leader.
In addition to other communications, there were a series of awareness sessions that attracted attendees with refreshments and music. All of these elements helped generate a sense of excitement about the coaching program, leading employees to trust that it would be a unique and special experience.
When at last the the coaching intervention took place, coachees worked with their respective reporting managers to leverage the insights from the 360-degree feedback into an ongoing personal development plan. It was crucial that they had this starting point that enabled them to embark on their developmental journey. As an additional step, HR business partners facilitated group sessions that aligned individual and organizational goals.
The initiative had tremendous impact across the organization. Some key insights and accomplishments included:
- Leaders acknowledged that they were aligned, had a clear sense of where they needed to go, and were capable of translating their plans into leadership behaviors. This happened within a 6-month period. The rapid alignment has generated positive benefits throughout the organization and across a variety of metrics.
- Often times, traditional interventions engage our people’s heads. The process described for this pharmaceutical company engaged employees’ heads, hands, and hearts. It led to genuine engagement across the organization and mobilized colleagues to fully commit to the new strategy.
- Organizational coaching has great, long-term value. It engages the entire organization and has ongoing, sustainable impact that many of our clients are continuing to discover.
Learn more about our coaching services and 360-feedback, which could be the launchpad that your organization needs.