That title looks odd but truth is often stranger than fiction, especially when it comes to the human condition.
You and I think about 360 feedback as a way to find out how we're performing against a set of agreed upon expectations. But what if no expectations have been agreed?
Forget the textbook examples of starting with clear and specific expectations. Not everyone does. Heck, if you're married, you started with the expectation that you were "in love" and that that fact alone would carry you through an entire lifetime. (If you've been married long enough, tell me about your conversations after about two years into the gig. You can take a moment to roll the toothpaste in the right direction first).New Mobility, Expectations, and Feedback
I'm watching managers at every level being parachuted into situations with little or no direction other than:
- You're in charge of the unit's survival.
- Make us profitable and do it fast.
So, the new dude or dudette comes on board, gets a bit of the lay of the land, and starts taking action. At some point, people--including the new manager--notice that there are some disgruntled campers and that the group and manager aren't really in sync.
One way to find out what people need more or less of is to do a 360--online or even pencil and paper--to find out what's going on with the group members. By selecting the right dimensions and related questions, unspoken expectations will be revealed by the comments and numerical gaps. This provides a concrete data base to initiate a meaningful group discussion to create a genuine and solid set of expectations.
Is it the ideal? Not according to conventional wisdom. After all, "good" managers take time to do all the "right things" first. But how conventional is the current business climate?
What's important is to get on track. Newly hired managers are often being turbo-charged without receiving much of a clear charge. There's nothing wrong with "retro-fitting" expectations under those circumstances.
My hunch? Many of you are already experiencing this.
Deepest thanks to all who have commented, emailed, tweeted, and offered prayers regarding my Dad's recent diagnosis. While it has been hectic marshalling medical resources during the holiday season, I'm thankful to say that he is doing well and is free of malignancy and has a good prognosis. Again, our family thanks you all.
Also: In about a half hour--4pm Eastern, 3 PM Central Time, I'll be joining David Porter on his Bull's Eye Leadership program. We'll be discussing my favorite topic: Practical Ways to Become Extraordinary. If you can, join us.