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Why anonymous feedback from direct reports, colleagues and management is vital for high-level advancement

Why anonymous feedback from direct reports, colleagues and management is vital for high-level advancement


Last week we introduced Deloitte’s latest report that encapsulates results from its global survey on human capital trends. The report is very clear; in the future “feedback” will increasingly replace the more traditional employee appraisals.

Today, these feedback reports are often 360-assessments. At CCI, we frequently conduct these reports for corporate candidates. The process includes debriefing and coaching sessions with each individual.

Also known as multi-source feedback, anonymous comments from an employee’s direct reports, colleagues and boss, along with the person’s self-evaluation make-up the feedback. The objective is to bring to light top attributes for professional development purposes. The debriefing/coaching segment is critical to help the individual read between the lines.

Case study: Tony’s actions were at odds with his goals

One of the surest signs of true candidates for high-level advancement is their acceptance of less than positive feedback. In CCI’s recently published White Paper, we describe a situation with challenging circumstances that involved unfavorable feedback.

When we first met “Tony” at a workshop, he absolutely dazzled us with his effortless, graceful ability to engage people and his profoundly professional presentation skills. During a preliminary review of his 360-assessment, with feedback from across Tony’s organization, we were stunned by the discrepancy between what we had witnessed and the reported behavior. Colleagues and senior leaders found him prickly and short-tempered, especially during group meetings. We were baffled.

Shortly after reading the feedback, we were scheduled for more extensive training sessions at his firm’s HQ. Immediately, we connected with Tony to informally chat about the disparity between our experience and the comments about his imperious “performances” in the boardroom. We did not mince words, but told him straight out about his unrestrained conduct.

Tony got it immediately. He explained that he became impatient; he was trying to move things forward. Tony also revealed his personal ambitions to advance to a very specific role within the C-Suite. Our role was to help him understand that his actions were at odds with his goals.

Feedback timelines

Typically, there is an 18-month hiatus between the first series of feedback and coaching sessions, and the follow-up series. This allows participants time to evolve. With a narrower window of only three to six months, there really isn’t sufficient time to see significant development. An interesting sidebar to the opening initiative is how participants respond to feedback. Many are surprised by the comments and perceptions. “I didn’t know people saw me as a leader,” is a frequent admission. Obviously, this positive information spurs the person to welcome L&D opportunities and reinforces a maturity of action and behavior.

The other side of the coin, often apparent among corporate stars, occurs when the feedback reports arrogance. As more and more frequently today, leadership roles go to people with highly advanced “people skills,” in this case, the organization is giving the person a heads-up!

By drawing attention to address this potentially career-limiting flaw and providing sufficient time within the 18-month time frame, there is a better chance for awakened empathy.

If you would like to read details about our Assessment process and its application for your organization… Learn more >

If you missed last week’s blog about Deloitte’s latest report…Learn more >

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