Transparency, Pain, Chaos and Progress


This topic of ongoing, real-time, transparent feedback has turned into a far better discussion than what I anticipated.  Your last post on context raises some good points on design, but we definitely disagree on the execution.

I agree that there should be some intentional and deliberate consideration given to what questions are asked, how they are asked and why they are asked.  But, if we wait until everyone is schooled and skilled on how to appropriately use data recognizing their own cognitive biases, we will never do this.  And, if we wait until the culture is supportive and open enough to handle a real-time transparent feedback environment, it will likely never happen.  If your organization has a culture where this wouldn’t cause some waves or create some conflict, then you may not need to use a tool like this because feedback is likely already happening.  The paradox is that we have to do some things that the culture doesn’t support in order to change the culture.

I have seen the chaos created by 360 degree assessments other programs like them.  They can create quite a mess in the short term with groups aren’t “ready” for the results or implications.  But, despite the chaos and the messiness, I’ve also seen these efforts result in some pretty significant and positive changes, despite the pain along the way.  And, I’m fairly confident that had we controlled the program to avoid some of the chaos and pain, it wouldn’t have had as much impact.  We just had to step into the chaos.

So, I’m not advocating going off half-cocked with any type of program.  But, I think that using an approach like this can have some real positive effects–even if it starts out as only one leader at a time.



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