Archive for the ‘360 feedback’ Category

7 ways to give great feedback

Hayley wrote a great post on our Engauge blog on how to make feedback more valuable.

Thought you might like to have a look.

What do we measure?

I’ve just finished reading an article about testing your marketing messages.  The example used was of testing the effectiveness of one headline against another. Its common marketing wisdom and we know that overall, those that follow the dictum have great marketing success than those of us who randomly dump words on the page and hope we hit the target.

The point of this article is that these days there are loads of clear and easy-to-use tools that will deliver feedback from the market to tell you whether you are reaching your tHead-measurementarget audience, whether the message is clear, and whether its on the mark. More and more people – even those who don’t have massive marketing budgets to spend – are coming round to the logic of testing your marketing message.  It just makes sense. Understand where there’s room for improvement and then make the changes.  Couldn’t be clearer.

Strange then, that the same logic doesn’t always apply when people consider training. So often companies make an educated guess at what training is required. Yes, sometimes its fairly obvious. But sometimes, its just what the MD thinks would be a good idea, or what a current management guru is talking about, or even the latest training brochure lands on the desk.

Surely, its just as sensible to assess skills gaps before deciding what training to apply?  It would seem logical to measure performance first and then decide on action.  Hopefully, just like the measurement of marketing messages, quantifying strengths and development needs is becoming accepted as the logical starting point for actions.  360-degree feedback is a pretty good starting point.

Getting help with the ‘What next? question

fortune cookieGreat to see MSA gets a mention in Personnel Today’s article on training for before and after 360 feedback.

The expertise that wraps around 360 reviews is a key component in the ultimate result. Making sure the ‘What next?’ question (or even the ‘So What?’ question) is properly explored makes the difference between it being a box-ticking exercise, and something that delivers powerful results.

Welcome Aboard

planecrash2Earlier this month a new “free” 360 review service was launched. Its a DIY, no service, no support, one-size-fits-all product which comes with no advice on how get any value out of the reports. This scenario is a classic case of ‘You get what you pay for.’

How many people would be willing to fly on an airplane that had not been safety checked, had an unqualified pilot in the cockpit, no cabin crew and no baggage handling staff – even if it was absolutely free?

Yet somehow, there are still those who would rather save a few pounds than make a solid investment in their people.

Hard to understand.

Walking the walk

At the beginning of 2007, we announced that we would be willing to offer up to ten free 360 feedback review to one charity each month of the year.  Our training partners loved the idea so much that many of them offered to provide some free coaching sessions to go with the 360 reports.

We’ve now decided to make this a permanent offer.

So, if you’re a UK-based charity and you’d like some management development work for free – get in touch

In the meantime, find out how Sporting Equals benefited from this offer in 2007…

Helping organisations focus on areas of maximum value and impact

We’ve made good progress on the project we announced last year which aims to provide charities with free 360 feedback services this year. We’ve now got 4 charities signed up for the project and our first completed project was a great success.

Here’s our official press release about it:

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MSA Interactive CEO Vandy Massey announced today that the company, in partnership with Performance First, will offer free staff development services to the UK charity Sporting Equals. “As part of our charity initiative this year, MSA are offering a 360 Review and a one-to-one feedback session for senior executives at Sporting Equals, all at no cost to them,” Massey said. The Cambridge-based company is working with a number of charities that support education and training in the UK and abroad in 2007.

Sporting Equals works to promote racial equality in sports throughout England, and it is the first charity to benefit from this initiative.

“We’re all sports enthusiasts at heart, and we know that training is essential to success – that’s why Sporting Equals was delighted to respond to MSA and Performance First’s invitation to participate in L360 and coaching development. PF and MSA have helped us to target specifics and focus on these areas for maximum value and impact.” said Sporting Equals Director Lorraine Deschamps.

MSA helps organisations make fast, positive improvements in staff performance using online assessment tools. Performance First is a specialist consultancy based in London that focuses on delivering performance improvements to its clients. Together, the companies look forward to helping Sporting Equals maximise its performance as an organisation, and ultimately, the clubs that the charity benefits across England.

Massey explained, “MSA is thrilled to be working with Sporting Equals. Their work with governing bodies of sporting agencies is making great strides to promote racial equality, and we think that our online tools and support can help them build on their impressive results.” MSA will announce further charity partnerships in the weeks and months ahead.

There is still time to benefit from one month of free online utilities and support services offered by MSA and its training associates. Charities wishing to take part in MSA Interactive’s 2007 Initiative are encouraged to contact Vandy Massey, either by email, on contact@msainteractive.com, or by post, at MSA Interactive, PO Box 972, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB2 4WQ.

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Do let us know if you would like to take part in this project.

The Gift of Effective Feedback Part 2

Recently, I wrote about how seasonal ‘giving’ relates to an important gift that that we can make part of our day-to-day lives – effective feedback – and invited you to share your experiences. I’d like to thank everyone who sent in responses, and pass on some tips.

The first reply that caught my eye was from Shamus Doherty, who gives us all a reminder that feedback is a two-way street: "When giving feedback make sure the other party is willing to listen, otherwise there could be tears at bedtime." Good point, Shamus! Even feedback delivered with the best intentions can be counterproductive if given at the wrong time. But remember that uncomfortable, or even unwanted, feedback can be some of the most useful. As Binh Zientek writes: "Painful as feedback can be at times, I have always tried to listen to constructive ones and have always improved personally and professionally because of them. I also thank the other person for their feedback."

A formal feedback exercise can help take some of the pressure out the exercise, but it still requires some thought to get the most out of it. If you’ve been invited to give feedback, either in person or as part of a formal process (for example an appraisal or a 360 review), here are a few tips:

  • Give clear, honest feedback – comment on aspects of specific behaviour. Often the person requesting feedback is not aware of how their behaviour affects others. You may be able to highlight and reinforce certain positive and helpful characteristics. Equally, your feedback may clarify the reasons why it would be a good idea for them to make some changes.
  • Be constructive – it isn’t helpful to comment on things they cannot change, or to write feedback in a thoughtless way. If carelessly worded, at best, your comments could be dismissed – at worst, they may be damaging.
  • Think informally – be respectful, but not deferential; rather than focusing on your relative positions within the organisation, concentrate instead on the impact of the recipient’s actions.
  • Treat the request responsibly – don’t let personal quibbles or a bad day have an impact on the feedback you give. Give yourself time to do the review properly. If you want to have a look at the questions first and think about them before responding, log in to the questionnaire, but log out without submitting a response (once the review has been submitted, it cannot be re-done). When you are ready to complete the review, give the task your full attention.
  • Finally, remember that by giving good feedback, you are helping a colleague improve their performance. Ultimately, this benefits all members of the team.

I’ll leave you with a great response from Steve Pendray of ProCustomer, a Reputation Marketing company. When talking about his experience of 360 degree feedback, Steve’s comment was: " I realised that I now had a solid foundation on which to base my personal development. I would say that it was the most useful development tool I have ever used." He goes on to say, "Feedback for a business is a bit like going to the gym – you know it can be painful, but it’s also good for you. You pay the subscription with eagerness but, having joined, you can find 1001 excuses for not actually going."

Well said, Steve. The message here is if you take the task seriously and follow through with the exercise, then you reap the rewards!

Can Christmas last a whole year? We’re going to give it a try

As the seasonal Christmas frenzy sets in, our thoughts can turn to those less fortunate than ourselves – especially as charities enter their busiest season of the year to draw attention, and much-needed cash, to their causes. But what about the charity organisations themselves? It’s a crowded and competitive marketplace out there, and attracting support is getting more and more difficult.

At MSA, we’re trying something new in order to help charities improve the performance of their organisation. We’re offering our services free of charge to 12 different charities, one for every month of 2007 (see our official press release here). We’ll provide a 360 Review and one-to-one feedback session for senior executives at each charity we work with, all at no cost, and no obligation to work with us beyond that month. We’re inviting charities that work in education and training to get in touch with us at contact@msainteractive.com .

I’ve been interested in finding new ways for the non-profit sector to benefit from staff development for some time now – and at this time of year, entering into the spirit of the season seemed like the right way to do it. So if you know of any education or training-related charity that might benefit from our offer, please let us know about them, so we can help make next Christmas their best ever!

The Gift of Effective Feedback

As Christmas gets nearer, we tend to think more and more about ‘giving’: High Street shops and online emporiums seduce us into buying more gifts to give to friends and family; we give generously to charities; and we give Christmas greetings to business colleagues, friends and acquaintances we like in the form of cards, calls, and even emails.

Most people find these forms of giving fairly easy and pleasant, especially in the holiday season. But when we think about giving feedback in our day-to-day lives, suddenly the concept of giving becomes onerous, tedious, and in some cases, downright scary! Yet with the right motivation and strategies, feedback can be one of the most valuable forms of giving that we have to offer.

Without feedback, it can be difficult to measure our own effectiveness or the impact that we have on those around us. Effective feedback helps us judge where our strengths lie, which can help prioritise the ways we use them. With the right sort of feedback, we can examine our development needs and decide what actions we should take to improve our performance in the workplace.

Feedback is a natural part of life – we give it all the time, in all sorts of contexts – and in the workplace, it is one of our most important tools.So it’s essential for us to use it effectively to improve our working lives.

Do you have any tips or tricks for giving and receiving effective feedback?Do you have any positive or negative examples of how feedback changed your workplace? If so, please share, I’d love to hear them.