Why Some 360s Fail to Deliver

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The value of constructive and nurturing feedback is indisputable. Superlative achievement is almost always rooted in caring feedback from parents, teachers, coaches, and yes, even bosses and fellow co-workers. Nobody climbs to the top of their game without some help from others and often that help comes in the form of constructive feedback.

why some 360s fail to deliver

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

The above adage is most appropriate when it comes to feedback. It suggests that we are often too absorbed with our self-perceptions to recognize our talents and short-comings, and even if we believe that we have a fairly accurate assessment of our strengths and weaknesses, chances are that we’re well off the mark.

The Value of 360 Feedback

The value of a 360 is to garner anonymous feedback from a circle of people who have a working relationship with you, such as direct reports, peers, customers (internal or external), and boss/bosses. Their perceptions are for all and intents and purposes their reality construct of you and that’s what really matters.

A Hill of Beans

Your self-perceptions don’t amount to a hill of beans if they don’t square with those of your associates. It matters not that you believe you are considerate and caring if others see you as rude, bad-mannered and selfish. On the flip side your co-workers may see you as an extremely talented and gifted under achiever capable of doing so much more but lacking the confidence to step up to the plate and take a swing. Feedback can be the key that helps shift us into gear to make a change for the better. So why do so many 360’s fail to deliver?

Why Most 360s Fail To Deliver

Recipients of feedback must have complete trust in the accuracy and wisdom of the feedback that is being given. This truism is fundamental to all feedback, and there lies the crux of the problem with most 360 systems. Feedback recipients frequently doubt the accuracy of the feedback they receive and justifiably so.

Are You Qualified to Answer?

You wouldn’t take financial advice from your doctor, nor would you take medical guidance from your accountant, and yet this is precisely how most 360s operate. They ask the same questions of all raters regardless of the rater’s ability to accurately answer all of the questions. Raters must be qualified to answer the questions about the appraisee.

Context Targeted 360s

Unlike a standard 360 that asks all raters the same questions, the customized CT 360 is able to elicit more accurate and trustworthy feedback by rater group, because all of the custom questions are geared toward that rater group’s working relationship with the appraisee.

Peer Feedback

To learn more about your teamwork skills, interpersonal relationships, and persuasion skills it makes sense to ask your peers that work with you in a team setting.

Feedback from the Boss

To gain a deeper understanding about your business skills, it makes sense to ask your boss about your planning and organizing, decision making, financial management, and resilience skills and aptitudes.

Feedback from Direct Reports

Only your direct reports can tell you with any authority and clarity how well you handle performance management, team building and motivation, employee empowerment, coaching and mentoring, and information sharing.

Customer Feedback

Customers, internal and external, are the only people who can provide accurate feedback as to your customer focus, problem solving and decision making, integrity and functional expertise, and negotiation skills.


Feedback is every person’s guiding compass that keeps them on course especially during times of change and challenge. Feedback is both valuable and necessary to avoid stagnation and becoming irrelevant in a rapidly changing world. Feedback that is highly targeted and taps the rater’s unique working relationship with the appraisee will always be the most trust worthy, valuable and edifying.

Looking for 360 Degree Feedback software? Check out Capterra's list of the best 360 Degree Feedback software solutions.

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About the Author


Ron Hiller

As President and CEO of Insights For Performance Ron and his development team launched the company’s flagship product TalentPeak™, a web based performance management software in 2004. Ron and his team have worked nonstop over the past 10 years releasing new features on virtually a monthly basis. The TalentPeak system has evolved in part from input from the extensive international HR experience of some of the team’s members and from ongoing client feedback. We continue to make system enhancements based on advances in technology and client suggestions.


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