360° Feedback with Filiz Yesil

What is 360° feedback and who is it aimed at?
Its name refers to the different perspectives from which (usually) a manager in the company receives feedback: Employees, colleagues, managers, and possibly customers. This results in a very comprehensive, more holistic view than with pure leadership feedback, which is "only" given by the employees.
And it is aimed quite generally at the feedback recipient, often managers - but it can also be project managers, product owners, you name it. In other words, employees who are to be supported by the company in their personal development ... and want to be.
You emphasize "want" so much now - why?
For us it is important with this instrument that people are open to it and really want to have feedback on their behavior. Only then will further development of the personality work. Getting 360° feedback is a huge opportunity, but I have to want to take it.
That's why we're not fans of making the tool mandatory in the company. It's better to set an example. When I see that my peers, my manager and also the management use this tool as a matter of course, it creates a pull. And in principle, we think that pull is better than pressure!
This product is also offered by much larger consulting companies - what makes you special, because they surely have much more experience?
We are often talking about standardized tools that are highly efficient and tried and tested. The evaluation reports that the feedback recipients receive are very comprehensive and certainly valid - but often the feedback recipients are then alone with this and the possible development is not sustainable. In our view, this is a missed opportunity.
We therefore offer a comprehensive process in which, in addition to coaching on the results, we also accompany the evaluation in team and/or colleague workshops. This creates a clear picture for the feedback recipients and, through the transparency created, also a sustainable development pull.
And the questionnaires themselves? How are they created?
Preferably in close cooperation with our customers. We take competency models, leadership guidelines, agreements on cooperation and also link them with a look into the future (where do you want to go? What behavior will be successful? ...). On this basis, we derive criteria that we then operationalize with concrete questions. The best way is to use the critical incidents technique.
And then comes the ever-popular question of scale and how to name that scale - always exciting!
And you have your own online tool?
Yes, our feedback tool. Since nothing we could buy in was ever exactly what we wanted, we built a platform ourselves where we can map all kinds of feedback formats. Of course, we adapt the questions to the customer's needs, but also the look & feel, the CI and above all the process (when who is asked, reminded, etc). So we are maximally flexible and we are very proud of that!
And all communication then goes through this platform. All invitations, reminders, reports, etc. are sent here. Necessary explanations and notices from the company can also be found here. All in one place. Which, by the way, is also secured - the server is located in a certified German data center. Thus, data protection is 100% guaranteed.
Data protection, confidentiality is, after all, an important issue ...
Yes, definitely. After all, the survey is anonymous, so the feedback taker should not be concerned with the question "who wrote this?" but "what does this have to do with mur?". And the feedback givers should also feel safe so that they answer as honestly as possible. In order to ensure this, the survey runs on our server and the evaluation reports are only generated automatically if more than 3 people have answered. Otherwise, the principle of anonymity could not be guaranteed.
Speaking of "high standards" - are there any change processes for which you would not recommend using or training internal change facilitators?
When it comes to downsizing or restructuring, I would not recommend working with internal staff. You have to be outside the system. The focus here is on cultural development processes and all changes that can be shaped from within.
Why actually anonymous? Shouldn't people be able to give each other feedback openly?
That is, of course, the goal that needs to be achieved. But not every company has a feedback and error culture that allows employees to feel really safe when they report something uncomfortable. Then we get socially desirable answers, and that doesn't help anyone.
Nevertheless, we try to seize the opportunity and not let the 360° survey stand alone, but to use it as a hook for improving the feedback culture. This is the reason why short evaluation workshops with employees and/or colleagues are so important to us. This not only helps the feedback recipient to better understand his or her feedback, but also helps to further establish feedback in the company.
To summarize - what do I actually get as a company from 360° feedback? Why should I invest?
In our view, there are three major reasons:
  1. Raising potential: The comparison of external image and self-image leads feedback recipients to a clear view of their areas of development. They can use their energy in a more targeted manner and further develop their own potential. In addition, the offer of such an instrument for personal development is also a perceived sign of appreciation among the participants. The company invests in me - that motivates and obligates in equal measure.
  2. Professionalization: Through the targeted feedback on the selected criteria, the feedback recipients get the opportunity to improve their behavior and also to turn things off or reinforce them. By the way, this is also the ideal link to leadership development programs! If participants already start with clarity on personal development fields, professional challenges and concrete questions, then a leadership training will be all the more effective in its results".
  3. Strengthening the feedback and error culture: It is becoming more and more normal not to be "perfect" but to talk openly about errors, challenges, areas for development, etc. This creates transparency and thus the opportunity to manage the company even better. This creates transparency and thus the opportunity to manage the company even better.
Don't you see the danger that the company then uses the results as a hidden performance appraisal? And what happens to the results?
In our 360° feedback projects, we have always agreed that the results of the survey will end up exclusively with the feedback recipient. And we think that's extremely important. After all, it's not an instrument for performance appraisal, but for personal development in a free and protected space.
That is why the results reports are also discussed exclusively with the coach in the first step. And one question that is answered here is who the feedback recipient wants to involve in the further development. This can be his team, in order to understand certain things better and also to make agreements, this can be his manager or also the personnel department, in order to discuss concrete development steps, for example.
What conditions must be met for 360° feedback to be implemented effectively?
Above all, we need clear communication and clear rules of the game: why are we doing this? What are the benefits and limits of feedback? Do's and don'ts? What happens to the results? How does the process work? ... And room for questions and answers. An introduction will be successful when people have been picked up and have understood the meaning.
And we need a reasonably healthy feedback culture. At least to the extent that the tool isn't used to anonymously screw someone over, hurt them, and wash dirty laundry. If we were to notice such tendencies in the corporate culture, we would first recommend other development steps.
And what do the participants say?
This is exciting, because if they have been surprised by certain feedback, then they need their time to understand, accept and decide how to deal with it. This is where a coach is definitely important. And then after the team and/or colleague workshops have taken place - they are not long, by the way! Maximum 3 hours - insights solidify, a personal picture of development emerges and eyes light up. Things are moving forward and that motivates immensely. Even if it was perhaps difficult at the beginning to accept feedback that was perceived as negative.
Quite often we also have the feedback that things have been uncovered and thus made workable, which the feedback recipient has been thinking about for some time. Then we have created clarity and orientation.
And then there are those who can't accept positive feedback at all ... there's a lot to be done there, too. Accepting oneself and not wanting to go into devaluation again and again is often not as easy as it would like to seem.