The 360 Feedback Process
For every salesperson who has had to sit through a performance review, it would seem to be a dream scenario — an anonymous, unfiltered, and direct opportunity to tell your sales management exactly how you feel about them.
In reality, there’s probably no greater tool to help cultivate and encourage your company’s sales management than the 360-degree feedback process. And though it does allow an open door for coworkers to share open and honest insights about their sales leadership, when executed correctly (and objectively), the 360 (as it is sometimes referred to) can make great organizations even greater.
In fact, more than 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies use the 360 as a cornerstone of their overall leadership development process. Moreso than just fostering an environment of openness, a robust 360 process can increase accountability, reduce turnover, and even impact the company’s overall culture for the better.
But, like anything new, introducing the 360 to your organization might raise some eyebrows. Some employees might consider this a threat, wondering: Is my job at risk? Am I going to be exposed?
For a 360-degree feedback program to be effectively launched and implemented, sales management needs to overcome those fears. The best way to do so – in addition to selecting the right partner to administer the program – is to understand a few key principles that make the 360 an effective – and objective – organizational tool for your sales organization.
When we at The Brooks Group help to implement a 360-degree feedback program for our clients, we want to ensure that communication about the new tool is clear and informative. First, and foremost, it’s critical to make sure everyone understands that feedback given through the tool is 100 percent confidential. No one will ever be exposed for sharing feedback, and the submission process is protected and private.
The more focused, on-point, and candid the feedback, the better. Your employees should not worry about wounding the self-esteem of the subject — however, though it may be tempting, they shouldn’t necessarily use the 360 as an opportunity to rip into somebody. There’s a balance to be struck. Be direct, so your comments are clear and not subject to potentially being misconstrued. We provide a template of instructions for both parties – the reviewers, and the person being reviewed – to ensure it is completed in a manner that is productive and will help the leader grow.
Rather than keeping the new 360-degree feedback program shrouded in mystery, you’ll want to be as forthcoming as possible about its role within your organization. The rollout should explain what it’s about, why it’s being implemented, what it’s going to accomplish, and how the feedback will be used to help those being reviewed.
Ideally, you will put the results in some context when you share them with the respondent. At The Brooks Group, we recommend pairing the 360 results with our Brooks Talent Index, a personality assessment that delivers insights into natural and adapted behavior style, individual instincts, preferences, and tendencies of which a person may not be self-aware; and a checklist for effective communication and coaching. The combination of these two tools can help make your leader more self-aware about how their personality and approach is being perceived by colleagues and others who work closely with them.
Finally, it’s time for the leader to put the plan into action – using the feedback to grow and get better. During a coaching session with a member of our team of talent experts, high potentials and leaders will review their Brooks Talent Index results and their 360 feedback with their Manager. Our experts will explore questions like: What surprised you the most about your 360 feedback? What piece of feedback made you most proud? And how do you plan to address a weakness that was uncovered? It’s then time to work with them to set a timeline for action and follow up.
Ready to support your executives and cultivate the next generation of leadership at your company? For over 40 years The Brooks Group has partnered with sales organizations around the globe—helping them to hire, train, coach, and develop salespeople and sales managers to reach maximum performance levels.
If we can help you set your team up for consistent sales success, let’s start a conversation.
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