The HR Juggler

Learning To Change

Posted on: November 3, 2011

Learning with 'e's: The ripple effect | Skills4Growing |
Learning and development can be a powerful force, never more so when you can see the effects in your own team. My HR team has very much been in integration and formation mode this year; we have jointly undergone a huge amount of change and are still very much learning each other’s working styles, strengths, development areas and motivations. Having operated as separate, devolved HR teams, reporting directly into the business heads and each seated in their own offices, it is an adjustment for the whole team to be based together, sitting open plan and working collaboratively. Ironically communication can be just as much of an issue when a team is co-located…more of an issue in some ways, as you expect it less.

In advance of the management training for HR that will be delivered over the next couple of months, the team have completed 360 feedback questionnaires and the effect is already transformational. The conversations that it has opened, the reflection and self-awareness that it has brought, the willingness to accept feedback, adapt behaviours and to allow others the space to change and move forward have all been fantastic. It’s very early days, but the seeds have been sown for this to be a very powerful intervention indeed.

It’s easy to overlook the effectiveness of 360 feedback – in many ways, we ought to be able to provide feedback in a more regular way without requiring the formal framework. The fact is that sometimes we all need a bit of a nudge to articulate what we think is fantastic and less endearing about our colleagues…and that experiencing it together as a group seems to have created a huge amount of positive energy and goodwill. The timing of any 360 feedback exercise is undoubtedly critical to its success and it seems we have embarked on this at the right moment, where things are starting to come together and behaviours have not yet become ingrained. Fingers crossed!

I’d love to know what your experience of team 360s is and how you have energised your team…let me know 😉

3 Responses to "Learning To Change"

Great to hear how well it’s working for you & the team Alison! I’ve found the practice of using 180 & 360 periodically can provide a very useful vehicle for awareness raising.

One of the hardest things to get right I think is the debrief – a well managed debrief can fuel or kill the energy to change. The best conversations I’ve had/seen are where there is an open mind to the feedback and management have used their coaching skills to good effect. I’ve also found great value in asking someone impartial from outside of the team to assist. A natural role for internal mentors & coaches.

On a cautionary note, I believe it’s also important to be able to move on from the 180/360. I’ve seen too many people (& their managers) become pre-occupied with what it said & acting as though the content was “gospel”. It’s just one form of feedback given at one point in time. We should view it as such!

In a team setting, there is a great opportunity to use a Nancy Kline type approach for the team to share their own assessment of their 360 with others in the group. A great way to build engagement & support through openness, authenticity & mutual trust!

I’ve done a few 360s in previous roles, and they have been very valuable for my development. Quite rightly, though, as you point out, it’s because someone has taken the time to coach me through the feedback and helped me to see what I need to do in order to develop.

The challenges of using them comes when the cynical types want to know the details and try to figure out who said what. Or the ones who bury their head in the sand and dismiss the feedback as being ‘someone else’s perspective’.

The role of a coach in these situations is vital and helps the individual to accept (or not) what is in front of them, and how they choose to (or not) move forward.

Thanks both for commenting – some really valid and useful points.

One thing which I omitted to mention was the fantastically key role that my learning and development colleague has played in feeding back the results in a completely confidential, neutral and supportive role – it wouldn’t have had anywhere near the same effect without her input and support.

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