What are the best ways to do a 360?

Based on the insights shared by Ed Batista in the excerpts provided, the best ways to conduct a 360-degree feedback assessment involve a nuanced approach that acknowledges the complexities and potential pitfalls of the process. Here are some key considerations for conducting an effective 360:

  1. Ensure Psychological Safety: Before initiating a 360, it's important to ensure that there is sufficient psychological safety within the organization. This means that individuals feel comfortable giving and receiving honest feedback without fear of negative consequences.

  2. Use 360s Thoughtfully: 360s should not be used as a substitute for regular feedback, but rather as a complementary tool. They are particularly useful in environments where feedback is infrequent and might otherwise be stored up, leading to more intense negative feedback when it is finally expressed.

  3. Balance Anonymity with Openness: Anonymity can be necessary when feedback providers are unwilling to share critical feedback due to a lack of psychological safety. However, it's also important to encourage feedback providers to actively seek additional feedback elsewhere and to consider ways to build trust that can reduce the need for anonymity over time.

  4. Acknowledge All Feedback: It is crucial to acknowledge both positive and negative feedback. Positive feedback is often discounted or ignored due to human psychological biases, but it can be valuable for understanding and leveraging one's strengths.

  5. Facilitate Post-Feedback Conversations: The 360 process should not end with the report. It's essential to have follow-up conversations with feedback providers to clarify any ambiguities and to discuss the feedback in more depth. This can help separate the signal (useful feedback) from the noise (less useful feedback).

  6. Respond to Feedback Responsibly: When responding to feedback, it's important to consider which changes are feasible and which are not. Some changes may be easy and welcome, others may be more challenging but worth attempting, and some may be too costly or difficult to undertake.

  7. Reflect on One's Role in the Problem: Recognize that behavior is often adaptive. Leaders should consider how their own actions may have contributed to the issues raised in the feedback and take responsibility for their part in any problematic dynamics.

  8. Consider Various Coaching Models: If coaching is part of the follow-up to a 360, consider different models that could work for the team, ranging from individual coaching to team coaching, and choose the one that best fits the team's needs and the level of trust and psychological safety within the group.

  9. Pursue Change Thoughtfully: While accepting the reality of the organizational culture, leaders should thoughtfully pursue change within their sphere of influence and be prepared to take manageable risks to determine what can be altered.

  10. Build Resilience: Leaders must continuously build personal resilience to cope with the stress that can come from 360 feedback and the ongoing challenges of leadership in complex organizational environments.

In summary, the best way to do a 360 is to approach it as a comprehensive process that involves careful preparation, the creation of a safe environment for honest feedback, a balanced review of all feedback, and thoughtful follow-up that leads to meaningful conversations and potential changes.