High performance companies use the 360 Review Process

Written by Jim Baka, FBLP Chairman

The 360 Review Process is a very useful tool because it allows all applicable individuals to receive helpful feedback regarding their respective relationship – good, bad and neutral in hopefully, a balanced manner (consider the positive attributes of the other person vs. just your perceived negative issues with that person).

Overall the 360 review provides an opportunity for individuals who work or interact together identify respective strengths and areas that absolutely need improvement. This process can be an extremely helpful process when dealing with family business conflict. When using the process all parties must ensure that the mediating person working with those family business members who have conflict with each other be independent from the family business.

The 360 review process provides a structure so individuals don’t write a book because they don’t know when they have said enough.  Instead, this mindset download results in focused feedback and, bottom line, meaningful and hopefully positive advice given to each other in an appropriately sensitive manner. The feedback process basically asks three questions regarding the mutual relationship:

  • What do I want the other person to stop doing 
  • What do I want the other person to start doing 
  • What do I want the other person to continue to do 

All involved parties need to insure that the initial written feedback is clear and said in a sensitive manner.  Further, the goal is to provide each other with key and important points without overwhelming each other with all too much rhetoric. Do not initially share the written feedback with the other person and instead working with an independent mediator make sure the feedback is appropriately focused and is void of insensitive comments.  The involved parties will only share the feedback at a face to face meeting mediated by the non-family independent person.

Make your feedback straightforward and honest.

Don’t write a book.

Do make your key points.

  • Provide examples that illustrate your most important points.
  • Don’t expect to see the other person act on your feedback. Each individual should be looking for patterns of behavior, both positive and negative.
  • Don’t worry that what you write will cause bad things to happen to your relationship.
  • Use the experience as a chance to understand and respect each other’s views and thoughts. It’s a great opportunity to look at yourself and think about what you could do to improve your relationship with each other.

Regarding the inperson feedback session:

  • Try to control your defensiveness – Try to show your appreciation to the person providing the feedback. They’ll feel encouraged and, believe it or not, you do want to encourage feedback. If you find yourself becoming defensive or hostile, practice stress management techniques such as taking a deep breath.
  • Listen to understand.
  • Try to suspend judgment.
  • Summarize and reflect what you hear.
  • Ask questions to clarify. Focus on questions to make sure you understand the feedback. Focusing on understanding the feedback by questioning and restating usually defuses any feelings you have of hostility or anger.
  • Ask for examples and stories that illustrate the feedback so you know you share meaning.
  • Just because a person gives you feedback doesn’t mean their feedback is right.
  • Remember, only you have the right and the understanding to decide what to do with the feedback.

FBLP Chairman Jim Baka has conducted numerous 360 Review Processes for family and privately-held businesses. If you have any questions, contact Jim at 414.412.2557 or at jamesas.llc@gmail.com