Second Crack — The Leadership Podcast

360 Degree Feedback: A Welcome Punch in the Gut for Leaders

August 25, 2023 Martin Aldergard, Gerrit Pelzer Episode 25
Second Crack — The Leadership Podcast
360 Degree Feedback: A Welcome Punch in the Gut for Leaders
Show Notes Transcript

A 360 Degree Feedback may be the most powerful leadership development tool you will ever use — if you use it correctly.

Feedback holds the key to successful leadership development. Despite our well-intentioned endeavours, our actions may not always align with our intentions in the eyes of others. The most successful leaders understand how they are perceived by others and adjust their actions and manage perception accordingly.

Receiving candid feedback is not always pleasant, but it invariably provides you with an opportunity to improve and develop as a leader.

A 360 Degree Feedback is a multi-rater assessment that weaves together insights from diverse vantage points. These vantage points, ranging from superiors and peers to subordinates and self-assessment, converge to provide a well-rounded picture of how others see you in comparison to how you see yourself.

This powerful tool, however, often falls short of its potential due to oversight in key aspects. A successful 360 journey commences with meticulous pre-process preparation, continues with accurate result interpretation, and ultimately requires taking the right actions to help you grow as a leader and create the desired impact.

Before Embarking on the 360 Degree Feedback Journey:

  • Define Your Purpose: Articulate why you are pursuing the 360 Degree Feedback and be clear on the context.
  • Curate Your Raters: Enlist a diverse and representative array of raters, not just your best friends.
  • Personal Invitations: Extend personalised invitations to your raters, and encourage them to provide ample text answers rather than mere ratings.

Receiving Your 360 Degree Feedback Results:

  • Guided Interpretation: Ensure you have a debriefing session with an executive coach certified in the 360 Degree Feedback tool you are using. A professional coach can help you navigate through a complex report and put things into perspective, enabling you to interpret the results correctly and gain the most from your 360  for effective leadership development.
  • Attitude is Key: Embrace an open mindset and resist the instinct to be defensive when confronting critiques. Approach feedback as a snapshot of external perception at a particular point in time.
  • Explore Alignment an Discrepancies: Explore hidden strengths recognised by others and blind spots wehre your self-assessment overshoots. Look for consistencies and inconsistencies in the ratings and comments. Scrutinise congruences and divergences within and between rater groups.

Take Effective Actions for Your Personal Growth:

  • Seek More Feedback: Paradoxically, often the 360 Degree Feedback is only the start for receiving more feedback: engage with selected raters, sharing insights from your report. Seek further clarification and request specific suggestions for improvement.
  • Holistic Growth: Development involves more than overcoming weaknesses. Capitalising on your strengths while bridging gaps is the pathway toward exceptional leadership.
  • A Coach's Guiding Hand: Collaborating with an executive coach can truly propel your personal growth. For most people, changing behavioural patters and unproductive habits is more difficult and time-consuming than they think. Busy executives tend to focus on their projects and day-to-day work, often neglecting their own development. “A coach really, really helps”, as Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, famously noted.

Get in touch with us:
web: secondcrackleadership.com
email:  hello@secondcrackleadership.com

Second Crack – The Leadership Podcast
Episode 24

This transcript is AI-generated and may contain typos and errors.

[00:00:47] A warm welcome to Second Crack, the Leadership Podcast. In this show, we explore everyday leadership dilemmas and paradoxes, and we invite you as our listener to self reflect. I am Gerrit Pelzer, I work as an executive coach, and I bring to my coaching a combination of Western science and Asian wisdom. I'm joined today as usual by my dear friend and business partner, Martin Aldergard. Martin is a leadership consultant who focuses on change and transformation in organizations. And what we both have in common is that we always put people at the center of our work. So hi, Martin, it's good to be recording with you again today. How are you? 

[00:01:37] Martin: Hi Gerrit, and nice to be with you too. You know, today I catch a little bit of a cold, so my, my throat is sore and my voice might not be so clear, but I think we have a great topic on our hand today, we are going to talk about sometimes a controversial topic: 360 feedback, and how can I use this as an individual leader for my own development. 

[00:02:07] Gerrit: Yeah, indeed, we spoke about the importance of feedback many times, because whatever we do, we do with best intentions. But at times, we realize that what we do does not always have the desired impact or is not perceived by others in the way that we want it to be seen. Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, once famously said in a Fortune interview that one thing that people are never good at, is seeing themselves as other people see them. And there are so many examples around this, let's say a leader may think that she or he is very good at driving results, pushing people, but then by their staff, it's seen as micromanagement, which is really limiting people. Or another wonderful example I had is where a CEO wanted his team members to speak up in meetings more, but it turned out it was actually him who through his behavior, his comments, was actually shutting down the other people. 

[00:03:18] Martin: And this 360 degree feedback as more as a formal tool, it has so much of potential to explore, right, if we do it in the right way. But in my experience, many organizations have also rolled out 360 and it's a huge effort. It takes a lot of time, with very limited impact. And exploring this now, not so much from an organizational point of view, but from the perspective of an individual leader. How can I really make 360 feedback play to my advantage. Gerrit, I mean, you have done hundreds of 360 feedbacks and helped executives. What's your experience, what are the real, the true benefits, of doing a 360 as a leader? 

[00:04:07] Gerrit: Yeah, so I think first of all, we need to realize that successful people know how they are perceived by others, and they are good at perception management. There's another real life story that I had where I was coaching three directors in one organization, and for each of these coaching assignments, we had a kickoff meeting with their boss, where we then discussed the process and made sure that we are aligned on the goals and outcomes of the coaching. And something very surprising happened in these sessions, or after these sessions. After each of those, this boss asked me how he did in this meeting. And he was a person who was rather young and advanced very quickly in this organization, and that was not only because of his skills, but because he always asked for feedback. So he knew how he was doing and how he could adjust.

[00:05:07] And the 360 degree feedback is just a formal way of receiving feedback, and I had a client of mine who recently said that this 360 has been the most powerful tool he ever used. And he said before he was kind of living in a bubble and this helped him and I could witness him grow along the way very quickly once he had received this feedback. 

[00:05:38] Martin: Living in a bubble. What did he refer to what does it mean to him? 

[00:05:44] Gerrit: I think it's quite common that the higher up we are in the organization, the harder it is to receive honest and candid feedback. So people are maybe a bit concerned about the power, there's this power distance, and so the 360 really helped him to see how other people see him. And I can also share that in this particular case, he said it was a wake up call because it was really not what he had anticipated. 

[00:06:17] Martin: But I think here also lies the challenge, right, because, uh, when 360 also goes wrong, it is because people are not giving the, so to say, honest feedback, because the power ratio. So we might come into this a little bit later, how to get this right, but apparently from your example, if we can get the setup correct, it will be a very, very useful tool.

[00:06:45] Gerrit: Exactly. And we're coming back to where you actually started, that the 360 degree feedback is sometimes seen controversial. And I kind of disagree with it because I think it's an extremely powerful tool if it's applied properly, because I have seen when it doesn't work. When I start working with new clients we discuss should we do a 360, and a common question from my side is then have you ever done a 360 before. And what happens many times is that people say, yeah, yeah, I did it two, three years ago. I also had a debriefing session with a coach and then, then nothing happened. And that is then a huge waste of time and money. So in order to get it right, to use the full power of this instrument, you need to look actually at three phases. One is before you do the actual feedback, then when you receive the feedback, and then of course, what you do afterwards.

[00:07:56] Martin: And in your particular case, as an executive coach, you used the 360 as a tool, many times as a starting point of coaching a client. And the times when I have used 360 tools, we have done it as part of a leadership development cohort, where we had, let's say, 15 to 20 leaders, each one of them doing a 360. Typically also at the beginning of a development program, and that would then also help to set the individual goals, what I want to develop as a leader during the program. 

[00:08:36] Gerrit: And maybe we should take the opportunity to briefly explain what a 360 degree feedback actually is. There may be some people who are not familiar with it. If you are, you can fast forward a minute or two. Maybe we put a timestamp into our session notes. 

[00:08:55] As you said so rightly Martin, first of all, and I think that is of critical importance, a 360 is, in my opinion, supposed to be a development tool. It's not used for performance measurement. Absolutely. It's a multi-rator tool, so opposed to other instruments like Hogan or MBTI where you just do a self assessment, you ask a number of other people about their feedback. And the term 360 indicates a full circle, so typically we ask your boss, your peers, your direct reports, we can ask other groups, and also yourself. And then we get a sort of well rounded image of how other people see you compared to yourself. And I see typically two different models. One is, for instance, the, the KornFerry, KF360, which I use quite a lot, where you are rated on a number of leadership competencies, typically on a, that's on a scale from 1 to 5. And there are also other tools. Another one that I like very much is the Leadership Versatility Index or LVI, where people are asked about specific leadership behaviors. And then they will ask, for instance, how well does Martin demonstrate this behavior? Is it in just the right amount? Does he do it too often, which is often then because it's a natural strength and we tend to overuse it, but an overused strength can turn into a weakness. Or is that a behavior that you don't, um, um, show enough. And I think we can come back later to what is the specific output from a 360.

[00:10:53] Martin: So what are the steps, what do I need to think of as a leader when I'm starting a 360 for myself? 

[00:11:02] Gerrit: Yes, what you do before is as critical as what you do afterwards. It starts perhaps with the selection of which tool you want to use, but I think we, we don't want to touch on this today because that will simply take too long.

[00:11:17] A very important question is the context. So for instance, do I mainly want to get feedback on how I'm doing in my current role, so that then as a result I can look at what can I do to bring optimum performance into my current role. Or am I preparing for the next bigger role and do I want to, um, ask for feedback in terms how am I doing currently, relate, in relation to the next bigger role. That it already makes a big difference.

[00:11:54] Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . The next part is then obviously, who do I select as raters? And we need, of course, a representative mix of people, so you need, in terms of quantity, enough people to answer this, that it makes sense, that it's representing the people you're working with. And it needs to be a good mix of people, so not just your best friends who will give you superstar ratings. I mean, like I said before, this, this client I had who said it has been a reality check for him. You want to get the real picture, not just the shiny world, right. 

[00:12:39] Martin: And in my experience, this is also a, a, it's a, it's a quite tricky question, how to balance the amount of people to invite, uh, to not to make it too big and at the same time, not too small. If you have too few people, then we cannot guarantee the, it becomes, it stays anonymous. With too many people of course, the time investment. It's huge for everybody, right. And especially in my case, when we do a leadership cohort of 12 people, everybody needs to invite 10 people, yes, that's so many people and so much time. So this is a delicate balance, and I think this in my point of view, 360 is used as a very tailored leader development effort, because of the time and investment that is involved. It's not something that we roll out at scale, throughout, um, for, for leadership development. Absolutely. And I wanted to ask you, Gerrit, how, how to invite people, how to get the communication. Because when the context is so important, how do I make sure that the, that the people that, that getting the 360 are asked to give feedback, that they understand why, that they want to answer. And that they have the right mindset when they're answering.

[00:14:00] Gerrit: So you made a very good point in terms of how time consuming this whole exercise might become if you have a larger cohort of leaders going through the exercise. Because the problem with that is that then eventually, you know, if I get an invitation to do 10 of these feedbacks as a rater, within two weeks, then probably I do it quickly and the quality drops. And the invitation to this feedback is absolutely mission critical for the quality of the results. I mean, all of these tools have auto generated email invitation. So if I nominate you to rate me and other people, um, the system gets your email address and then there's an automated invitation with the link to the instrument. But that is a very cold way of inviting people. So I strongly recommend, I mean, really, I can't emphasize this enough. I strongly recommend that you invite your raters personally, and at least, um, you should do this by email if you have the time, or if you see them, you should do this in person or give them at least a phone call and then tell them why you are doing this, give them the context. Tell them that you will appreciate their honest and candid feedback. 

[00:15:30] And then in this context, to get candid feedback, you also want to talk with them about confidentiality and anonymity. These are different. Confidentiality means, who will actually see the report. And I recommend here that it should be only the leader who undergoes the 360, and their coach. There should not be any copy to HR or to the boss, because then we get into this dilemma again, is it just for development or is there an aspect of evaluation. And anonymity means that we can't see who has answered what. So you need to tell people that too, that you can't see what they, how they have rated you or what they have answered, with maybe the exception of your boss. Because that is often one person, and if we have a separate category, we know, of course, what they said, but normally bosses are also okay with that.

[00:16:31] And then, also super important, all the instruments I know, they have a section for comments or a section where there are open ended questions. Encourage your raters to make use of these comments, these answers, because that is often where you get the most value from. Let's say somebody rates you on a scale from one to five, gives you a three in communication. Then you still don't know what this means, right. So, are they talking about your communication in meetings, one to one settings, your email communication. But if they make then a comment, let's say, in terms of what they don't like about the way you communicate, and then even better, if they mention what you can do differently to improve, this is really super valuable information.

[00:17:34] And then lastly, thank people for taking their time. Let them know that you are aware it is time consuming, it can easily take 30 minutes or more. And yeah, I think that is about it when it comes to what to do before the feedback. 

[00:17:56] Martin: I just wanted to emphasize the bigger picture here in terms of communicating personally. Because to me, that part is what makes this closer to a feedback face to face, and informal, when I actually personally go in and ask somebody to give them feedback, to give me feedback. If we just resort to these automatic emails, the system's sending out, it becomes mechanistic. And especially if there is a cohort and I need to fill out a number of 360 reports, I will just tick the boxes as quickly as I can and the whole exercise is useless. But each leader taking time to personally contact each person that they want feedback from, that increases the chance of good, useful feedback tremendously.

[00:18:50] Gerrit: That's right. And, uh, yeah, so then shall we go into the second stage, what to do when people receive the feedback when they get their report. 

[00:19:00] Martin: Yeah, and here, of course, I've seen and myself and I had 360, you know, I always jump straight to the numbers and trying to figure out. And then in my head, I'm going easily into defensive mode. You know, why, why they say like this, what does this mean, or this is not me. How, what, how, how should I deal with this, Gerrit? 

[00:19:22] Gerrit: Yeah. I think the attitude. is another critical aspect. So you really need to go into receiving the feedback with an open mind. And exactly what you just said, I mean, let's be honest, receiving feedback is not always pleasant. You have to confront reality and the reality can sometimes be harsh. And what I see people do many times is they become defensive. They don't see themselves being defensive, but they start explaining. So when, when we go through the feedback together, they would say, Ah, I know who said this, and this is just because of this. Yeah, this, you know, let me tell you why this is so. So while it may sound to them like explaining, it is actually being defensive. So look at it, whatever the feedback report will tell you, see it as an opportunity to improve, try your best to keep an open mind. And then also, I already mentioned that I often debrief these sessions and I also highly recommend to do this debriefing with a professional coach who has been certified in using this particular tool. Because these tools are often complex or even complicated. I know one tool that ends up with an almost hundred pages report and it can be overwhelming. You may not be familiar with the details and then it's very easy to misinterpret the results and the coach can help you, um, put things into perspective.

[00:21:09] Martin: Can I just loop back to what you said here initially about the mindset of not being defensive, being open. And I think it helps so much when as a leader, I'm part of designing the 360. I make a decision, I want to use the tool, I'm part of inviting people to give me feedback, of course, that means I have an objective. Compare that with other setups when higher ups or HR have decided that you are going to be subject to a 360. Of course, then I'm much more open to be defensive. But if I have been part of designing this for myself, I naturally have an open mind here. So again, it links the preparation before, how the whole thing is set up, is already then helping the right attitude.

[00:21:59] Gerrit: Yes, very true. Very true. Yeah. 

[00:22:02] Martin: When we're now looking at this, how should I look at the numbers, how do I know, do we even know what these numbers mean, do we know that they... aren't they just a snapshot of reality? How do we know how honest the rater is, and how do I know if one guy gives a three, is that three the same as another guy giving a three? How can we compare numbers here? Isn't it subjective? 

[00:22:28] Gerrit: It is, and I heard about 12 different questions there. 360 is not an objective measurement tool. I mean, we both have a background in engineering, respectively, natural science, and there is no accurate measurement of personality, we simply don't have that. You asked whether it is a snapshot. Yes, it is a snapshot, um, in a particular point of time, and let's say the perception that somebody has of you may depend on your recent interactions. Let's say there's a direct report who you just gave a salary increase, they might give you very good evaluations. And then maybe last week you had a major fight with one of your peers in a big meeting, and they may be still upset with you. But either way, it's always to perception, it's not an objective measurement, and you made another good point about, I think you said something like, what does a three mean? There is no standardization, so the raters will get an, what do you call it, a legend, where they might say, okay, five out of five means this is really a towering strength, and a four out of five means you're talented. But people may interpret talented or having a towering strength, they, they might, uh, yeah, they, they might see this differently. So these are all things that we need to put into context. And also, like we said, we want to make an effort to have a good blend of people, but we can't possibly ask all the people we are interacting with regularly, so we also need to keep in mind, how representative, uh, is it really.

[00:24:23] Martin: And, and, and I mean, then this really blends down, blends into this question, how to interpret the results then? I mean, it's not a fact. I cannot interpret the... the numbers don't speak for themselves. I need to use my own judgment as a leader. I need to look at the context when I see this. 

[00:24:46] Gerrit: Yes, context is king. And if I just go through it sort of chronologically, so what are the results we're getting? As you said, there may be a number of competencies or behaviors, and we will eventually get a ranking of all these perceived strengths and weaknesses. And what always happens when I, not always, but in many cases, when I give people their report, they are a bit anxious, right, because they don't know what to expect. And then I see their eyes going to the bottom of the sheet, where they look at, oh, you know, where did I get the lowest ratings. But again, the context is here is not only about overcoming weaknesses. Great leadership comes also from building on your strengths. So let's, we'll pick this up maybe again later. 

[00:25:44] The second insight you might be getting is, a comparison of ratings to a norm group. So let's say you are a vice president in a multinational organization, then your report will also show you how you are rated in each competency compared to a global norm. And again, people may have different interpretations what a three and four means, but overall, you get a good overview where you are in the world. 

[00:26:17] What I look at is, we said we ask other people how they see you and we compare it with how you see yourself and hopefully, in many cases, we will have agreements that people say see you similar in a way as you see yourself, but then there are also cases, and this where I like to dig a little bit deeper, people may rate you higher than you rate yourself. We call that a hidden strength. And this is often the case for something that feels easy, something that happens naturally to us. We don't put a lot of effort into doing this. Then we don't see this as a strength, but we don't realize that this is what we are naturally good at, that this is maybe very difficult for others, and they admire us. So this is again this area where maybe we need to build on this more. 

[00:27:23] Martin: And I think, for all development, working on strength is so important, because this is what comes naturally, what in a high stress situation, that will most likely be the pattern of what I'm falling back as a leader. And also for my own motivation to work and improve and strengthen what I'm naturally good at, I think this, this approach is so positively motivating. Not disregarding important limitation, but not being, not being stuck with working on my limitations. Because, I mean, as, as, as a leader, perhaps a senior leader, we have developed our own profile for a long time. So sometimes you cannot teach an old dog to sit, right? So how much effort to put into it? But what I also here really like is not looking so much on the highest number and the lowest number, but looking at where's the difference between my own perception and the perception of others and there explore. I think that is more important to explore than, as you say, than necessarily the lowest and the highest numbers. 

[00:28:42] Gerrit: Exactly. And this leads us then naturally to the other case where others don't see you as great as you see yourself. We call that a blind spot. And that does not always mean that you are simply not as good as you think you are. It can also be that maybe you are very good at it, but you're just not demonstrating a certain behavior often enough in front of other people. Real life example from myself, I consider myself quite empathetic, but I've also received the feedback that people don't always see me this way. And the explanation is easy. I mean, the empathy is something that happens inside of me, in my brain, and maybe in my heart. But as long as I don't show it to others, if I don't tell them, or if my body language doesn't indicate it, they don't know, right. So this is another area, again, these hidden strengths and blind spots, I find these tremendously interesting to explore.

[00:29:48] Martin: And in my experience from the 360, one of the feedbacks here is the hidden, um, the intentions are coming out in different contexts with different groups or different situations. So this means, and this is where the 360 can be so powerful, that because we're in some context in some situation, I might, for instance, be very empathetic and in other situations, with other people, I might be much less empathetic and, and I would never catch that feedback if I don't use a 360. 

[00:30:22] Gerrit: Right. This leads me actually to, again, quite naturally to the next area that I always look at after the hidden strengths and blind spots. So the hidden strengths and blind blind spots is the deviation between how you see yourself and how others see you. And then I look, is there agreement or disagreement between different rater groups? So that's, for instance, my boss, does he or she see me in the same way as my direct reports or differently? And often, that is not the case. So rightly, so as you said, maybe I just show different behavior with different people. It's quite natural that most people don't act in exactly the same way with their boss as they do with their direct reports. But these different groups may also have very different expectations. So a classic that I see all the time is that the real high level bosses, they put a lot of emphasis on strategy, the bigger picture view, whereas direct reports often look into things or value things like, well, you know, does my boss support me, does my boss coach me in the way that it's helpful for me? And then lastly, the deviation can of course also come from the frequency of my interactions. Again, taking the example with the direct reports, they, I might see them every day, we might be in the same building, in the same floor, whereas then there may be peers with whom I only interact every six months in a virtual meeting, and of course, these people will see you differently.

[00:32:14] Martin: But Gerrit, now we have all this great feedback. I mean, I don't get better as a leader just reading a great report and reflecting on these results from the report. What happens next, what do I need to do as a leader after receiving this feedback? 

[00:32:34] Gerrit: Perhaps starting or coming back to what you mentioned many times, the context. So it's ultimately the leader's decision what to do. Also, taking the example we had earlier, it may be very different from when I just want to optimize, let's say, my interactions, my performance in the current role, or if I want to prepare for another role. So again, context is king. What I also then see a lot is people come up with well intended personal development plans, and then they end up in a drawer and nobody looks at it. So this is one of those cases where 360 can be a huge waste of time and money. And it's not that people don't want to develop or they are too lazy, it's just that they are super busy, and if there is no follow up, either through the organization, or if they are working with a coach and they have a longer coaching program, they are so busy with other projects, with their day to day work, that the first thing they neglect is their own development.

[00:33:51] Martin: And this is my experience. When the 360 is tied together, either with a coaching program or tied with a leader development program, the usefulness of the 360 goes up a lot. Because we need, we need to incorporate the results from the 360 into a little bit longer development program of a couple of months, so that I get a little bit of pushing help as a leader to incorporate new behaviors, and work on those behaviors as a leader. If it is just a standalone 360, I think it's, um, not a very high success rate. And, and, and frankly, I haven't seen many, I had never used an application of 360 in, in that way. 

[00:34:35] Gerrit: Yeah. So if, if you come back to what to do once, you know, the, the context, what you want, let's say, not necessarily yet what you want to develop, but where you want to be in the future, what you want to achieve. Again, the 360 does not tell you right away what you need to do. And in my experience, the formal 360 is often just the first step to receiving more feedback. It may sound a bit paradox because we've now invested time and money to get the results, so why do I need to get more feedback? Because it's not so clear yet. So what I recommend in most cases is that, you need to go back to the raters, maybe not all of them, but you definitely what you should do with everybody is thank them for their time, and then you can select people where you feel you can get additional feedback. And then I think it's a great gesture when you show openness and say, look, this is some feedback I received, can you tell me a little bit more about this, I don't really understand this? More importantly, you know, let's, let's take up this example with communication, I don't really know what to do with it, can you give me some suggestions what I can do to improve that? 

[00:36:02] Martin: And I think this is such a great way to continue going from a formal feedback tool, uh, through some sort of a survey, right, then going into more real face-to-face feedback, real communication between and, and asking for feedback. I, I'm just curious here how to, as a leader then, the dilemma of, uh, maintaining the, an, the anonymity, sorry, I cannot even pronounce it correct. And, and not make any other person feeling like I'm probing, right. 

[00:36:35] Gerrit: Yes, Martin, again, another important point you bring up there, and I would say it depends on the overall culture in the organization. Some have more open, more of an open feedback culture. They are used to giving and receiving feedback. But if there's an organization where this is completely new, then it may be more difficult. And in these cases, I mean, you just need to start somewhere. Start with somebody where you feel they would be confident enough to also give you feedback face to face. Um, you will certainly, I assume, let's say hopefully, you will have some people in the organization who you trust and they trust you. And in fact, while I'm saying it out loud, this can actually be a good exercise to build trust because you're disclosing, maybe the result of your feedback, for some people, that means showing some sort of vulnerability, right. Oh, look, you know, people see me this way that I'm really not doing great in this, and this then encourages usually the other person to, to speak up. 

[00:37:48] Martin: Because most people want to help, right, and, and I think this is when I'm as a leader sharing my results, and I'm sharing the overall feedback I got. That also then invites naturally to showing, I mean, it's, it's a scary thing to do, and it's very vulnerable, as you say, to show my weak spots. And, and what I've seen, people are actually wanting to help many times in that situation. Um, but again, this takes time, it needs to be sensitive to where you are at with the organizational culture. But I think this is also something to reflect as a, as a leader then, who am I willing to have this conversation with and who would be the one that trusts me enough to have this as an, as an open conversation. And not seeing the 360 as finished, but actually seeing it as a starting point of a further conversation. 

[00:38:49] Gerrit: Yes. And then once you have this, you may have some more specific ideas what you can do. And here I would say, do not overcommit. So even if you realize, oh there actually 10 things I should do differently, focus on one area at a time. Maximum three areas, because sometimes it's just enough to work on really just one thing, because then with your increased awareness or mindfulness working on this, the others almost automatically will also get better. 

[00:39:25] And in terms of then, uh, opening up, establishing a feedback culture, again, it depends on your organization, perhaps, on the culture. I think it can help a lot communicating back to the raters, or even the whole organization, what you will be doing next. And it reminds me of two wonderful examples. I was once coaching a vice president in the hospitality industry, and he had his personal development plan in his office, on his whiteboard, for everybody to see who came into his office. And another organization I worked with, they are, I would say, extremely advanced in their feedback culture. And I was once in their office and walked along the corridor and I was very surprised where many of the managers had next to their door a paper where they would say, you know, this is what I'm working on in terms of my leadership development, I appreciate your feedback and how you're doing, how I am doing. And I think that is really wonderful. So, you know, you need to start at where your organization is. You might be just taking the first step to establishing this, or you may be already very advanced. 

[00:40:46] Martin: One, one, uh, version of this in, in the leadership development program is to assign peers in the cohort or buddies in the cohort., Right. So during the program, they give each other more feedback, they're sharing, this is what I'm working on, this is what I'm trying to do. And they can coach and they can help each other, they support each other. And, and that can be then spread when, when this cohort becomes more, um, used to giving each other feedback, to observing each other, uh, others behaviors, then that can then radiate out into the organization and strengthen the overall feedback culture of the organization. So if you're not there yet as a very open culture of feedback, you can, you can, you can, have it within the cohort, so to say, and build the trust within the leadership cohort, let's say, during six months with buddies or peers. 

[00:41:50] Gerrit: And the buddy can serve another very important role. So let's say you have now decided what you want to work on, most people underestimate how difficult and time consuming it is to change certain behaviors and habits. I mean, depending on how old you are, it's a habit you have developed over one or more decades, and intellectually understanding what you need to change is not enough. I mean, it relates to this good old New Year resolutions where people want to live healthier, and let's say in order to lose weight, they know that one way of getting there is simply eating less and exercising more. Why haven't I been doing this for the last 10 years already? And so breaking these habits is very difficult. And a buddy can help here, that let's say two people know what the other person is working on and they can support each other. But also this is really where the power of coaching lies, because then the external coach also has the advantage of he or she is external, is the trusted confidant, and the people often open up more to their external coach than an internal buddy, where they might still want to come across as the great manager who has everything under control.

[00:43:23] And in the coaching, say, you know, I've been working on, let's say, improving my listening skills, this is what's worked, what didn't work, and then you can refine the approach for next time. And also, in this context, people need to continue to receive feedback. So it could be the role of the buddy or somebody else, let's take this example of listening or not interrupting people in meetings. And then you tell somebody, look, this is what I'm working on. Today, in this meeting, in the afternoon, can you do me a favor and observe me and after the meeting, give me some feedback, how I've been doing, have you noticed a change? Because oftentimes, let's say, we may put a lot of effort into changing something and it feels again internally like a huge effort. But then still others don't see much. So, you know, we now spoke about three times feedback. We do the initial 360 feedback process. Then we get more feedback on this feedback, and then we continue receiving feedback along the way. So I think this only substantiates that feedback is really important. 

[00:44:39] Martin: Right, and, and this almost closes the loop of, of today's episode, right. Because we're starting at the top by talking about feedback is, of course, as a leader, we need it so much, but it's not easy to get. And, and the 360 can be a great tool if we set it up correctly. But I mean, 360 takes a lot of effort, as we know now, right, so are there alternatives, or what if I don't have time, or I'm not prepared to put in all this effort, what, what can I do if 360 is not the alternative for me? 

[00:45:16] Gerrit: Yeah, first of all, I really loved your, like, the conclusion of the podcast is, a 360 is a very powerful tool, if applied correctly, almost like medicine, right. So you need to follow the prescription. Well, I mean, of course, in terms of getting feedback, there are many other ways. You can simply ask people for feedback, that is the most simple way. Then there can be, of course, the hesitation like we mentioned before, people may be reluctant to give a boss feedback. What I offer in my coaching is a verbal 360, or stakeholder interviews. So instead of going through a kind of a computer questionnaire, we can identify who the stakeholders are and then I can ask them personally. You know, how would you describe Martin's leadership style, what are his outstanding strengths, and, uh, what should he develop to have, uh, even more impact as a leader. And so what I just mentioned are very standard questions, but then, of course, If I ask people, we can tailor the questions more to your specific situation, which in many 360s would not be possible. So these are a couple of ways that come to mind for me.

[00:46:39] You mentioned before closing the loop, and it is really that successful people know how they are perceived by others through feedback. And then they work on managing this perception. And maybe the last thing that I want to add here is when I talk about managing perception, I do not mean putting on a great show, but understanding, taking this example I used before, if people feel I could show more, show more empathy, well you know, what are the opportunities, how can I do it? 

[00:47:14] Martin: And some of the feedback that you got from your clients saying, you know, this has been one of the most powerful tools that I have ever used, and I think this is really evidence putting in the effort of setting up, preparing the 360, uh, inviting the right people, uh, analyzing and interpreting the results, creating the development plan, and communicating with the people that you have invited, all of this then can lead to the results of feeling, you know, this has been the most powerful tool that I have used for my personal development.

[00:47:51] And I think this is, has been a great conversation and an eye opener on how we can use 360 for, for development. 

[00:48:00] Gerrit: Yes, Martin, I think we have covered everything, everything that is important. If people have more questions, they can always email us at hello at secondcrackleadership dot com. And this concludes today's episode.

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[00:48:44] Thank you for listening, bye for now, and until next time.