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Delivering feedback after a 360 assessment will make or break your reputation (and your effectiveness) as a consultant. Some organizations go through a 360-degree assessment and do nothing with all that data or the data is presented in an ineffective manner. Simply providing the results to the leader without discussing the results or supporting development efforts does not prompt or inspire change, according to Harvard Business Review:
The outcome? Little, if anything, changes. The mindset of the leaders who received the feedback report isn't altered. They don't change their behavior toward others. In most cases, this process doesn't do any damage (other than wasting time and money), but it's a missed opportunity — for the leader and the company.
Instead of generating a report that will only be read once, focus on a more conversational and action-driven delivery method. By discussing results with your clients, involving them in creating goals, and positioning feedback as the beginning of the journey instead of the end, you can make a more substantive impact on your client organizations. Read through these tips to make 360 leadership assessments as strong and rewarding as possible.
Delivering 360-degree assessment results as a consultant is nerve-racking. After all, you're assessing their organization, delivering both good news and bad news. When you make the results sound vague, generic, or directionless, it can significantly impact how much they adopt your findings and their opinion of your business.
So, what's the key to delivering the results?
It's important to deliver the results with a clear understanding that you're the expert and they're paying you for your advice. Know what you're going to say, focus on the participants and their development, anticipate commonly asked questions, and never hedge around delivering honest feedback.
While you're being confident, you also don't want it to be a one-sided presentation with little to no interaction or discussion. After all, your job as a consultant should be to help participants of your assessment identify developmental opportunities.
To do so, it’s crucial that you converse with an unaggressive tone and clear opportunities for your audience to respond to the feedback.
Many employees may approach the conversation aggressively or apathetically; they might not be invested in the results and may argue them away. To make real headway in sharing your results and getting positive interaction, break results into concrete terms and non-accusatory language so your participant can more quickly visualize easy avenues for improvement rather than the critique itself.
It's also important to remember that you're not a member of the organization. While this can help people feel more comfortable giving you honest feedback earlier in the process and remove some of the stress that their answers will affect their compensation or job, it's still a sticking point when delivering results.
Shifting to a conversational, easygoing tone can break past that barrier from the beginning of the interaction. Focus on it being a conversation, not a presentation to ensure your participant has the opportunity to respond appropriately to the results.
Keep the conversation as concise and impactful as possible by focusing on tangible goals. If you're a consultant, the organization you're assessing is paying you for solutions and insight; the best way to provide this value is by giving them concrete tips, action plans, and direct goals that make your services feel immediately valuable.
This helps with organizations that are on the fence about the value of 360 leadership assessments and individuals who are dubious about the process. It also reduces the friction of moving from the assessment and feedback stage to the development stage.
When individuals and teams have a clearly laid out course of actions and tasks, there's less friction to getting started. While you can't force your clients to complete your recommendations, they are more likely to do so when those recommendations are direct development opportunities sourced from trustworthy internal feedback.
Not only is that good for the organization, but focusing on tangible goals is good for your own consulting brand. Some of the benefits for you include:
Goals turn potentially negative feedback into a plan, which sets the foundation for better relationships with your client. It also helps with motivation — you can help clients set SMART goals or a timeline of tasks while motivation is still fresh.
Many of these tips have focused on negative feedback. Be confident so your audience doesn't brush off your feedback or aggressively argue it away; set the right tone so employees are more receptive; give specific recommendations so your feedback isn't ignored or dismissed.
However, focusing just on the negatives misses half the story.
As you're presenting results, be sure to spend just as much time on strengths and positive feedback as you do on areas for improvement. Many participants regard feedback as inherently negative; upending that expectation can help you create better relationships and make them more invested in the process, and thus, their development.
Some strengths also tie into different goals and development processes, so you can curate training courses or recommend different goals based on individuals' combinations of strengths and weaknesses.
You can also highlight strengths that make a real difference for the organization but might go unnoticed if you don't draw attention to them. Discussing strengths elevates the mood in the room and builds more bonds within the organization.
When you're delivering 360 leadership results as a consultant, you have to walk a narrow path of delivering results that give organizations the resources they need to strengthen while potentially being the bearer of bad news. But walking into these meetings with confidence, ideas for tangible goals, and positive news will make the process smoother and more rewarding for everyone.
At TruScore, we're here to help you conduct leadership assessments smoothly. We offer white label 360-degree assessment tools so you can gain quick insight into your client organizations, assess the results, and have all the answers you need for communicating results. Contact us today to learn more.