Intensive Interviews vs. Questionnaires
One reason companies use a questionnaire/quantitative system for feedback collection is to better manage administering 360s quickly and affordably across large worker populations. Multiple choice questionnaires are easy to score and (if properly created) can be reliable tools (and yes, there are some good ones out there). However, in order to be effective, the chosen instrument must align with a clearly defined leadership model (with competencies mapped to specific on-the-job behaviors) that supports the context of your company (values, vision, culture, etc). Additionally quantitative assessments need to be tested for things like test-retest consistency, internal consistency, and inter-rater agreement.
Interview-based 360s are obviously more labor-intensive than quantitative questionnaires, but they have some great advantages for our client base (typically startup founders in high growth, rapidly changing organizations). Interviews can yield more nuanced information about a leader’s impact within an organization. We can ask follow-up questions and draw out specific examples. We can clarify statements to get to more helpful levels of specificity. As we establish rapport during the interview process, reviewers will share honestly things they might not reveal in an online questionnaire. Our method supports the depth and highly personal nature of our client relationships.
360s Performed by a Trained Coach
We only perform 360 reviews as part of an ongoing coaching relationship. Here’s why:
- Landmark studies on coaching support the importance of supportive follow-up after feedback is received to facilitate developmental action planning and the practice of targeted behaviors.
- In one of the few prospective empirical studies conducted on the impact of executive coaching, researchers reported that after receiving 360 degree feedback, managers who worked with a coach were significantly more likely to set measureable and specific goals and solicit ideas for improvement. They subsequently received significantly improved performance ratings (Smither et al., 2003).
- Other research found that in six weeks of executive coaching after 360 degree feedback, performance increased by 60% (Thach, 2002).
- In a much cited study in the public sector, another team of researchers found that employee feedback and coaching for two months increased productivity above the effects of a managerial training program for 31 clients (Olivero et al., 1997).