Turning 360 degree Feedback into Positive Change

Harvard Business Review

March 31, 2008

by Marshall Goldsmith

The key to helping you turn 360 degree feedback into meaningful behavioral change is for you to follow-up with your co-workers. Shortly after reviewing your feedback I would suggest the following guidelines for responding to your feedback with each of your co-workers:

– Thank them for participating in the coaching process. Take the time to acknowledge the value of them time. Express gratitude for their input.
– Review strengths. Personally commit to continued effort in these areas of strength and express gratitude for their positive recognition.
– Openly discuss desired areas for development. Sincerely apologize for any mistakes that may have made in the past and commit to improve.
– Solicit ideas for the future. Ask for specific suggestions that can help ensure his improvement in targeted areas for change as well as general suggestions that can help you on your journey to become a more effective leader.
– Make realistic commitments. Avoid over-promising. Commit to listen to all ideas, consider every suggestion and make a ‘good faith’ effort to do the best you can to improve.
– Ask for their continued support. Let them know that you plan to follow-up and get ongoing ideas and suggestions. Communicate that positive, lasting change is a process – not a program.

After your initial response to feedback, follow-up with your co-workers every couple of months or so. For example, if your area for improvement is listening, just ask, “After receiving my 360 degree feedback, I committed to becoming a better listener. Based upon my behavior over the past two months, can you please give me a couple of suggestions that might help me become a better listener over the next two months?”

Listen to their ideas. Thank them. Keep learning and following-up. Our research is very compelling. Leaders that follow-this process can greatly benefit from receiving 360 degree feedback.
So can you.