“You can’t be your strongest without the brutal truth.” – Chapter 9, Your Oxygen Mask First

I haven’t met many people who love going to the doctor or dentist but almost everyone knows that annual checkup to assess your health is necessary.

One of the most important habits, to keep companies I work with around the world from getting complacent on potentially dangerous issues, are annual checkups. Sometimes more often or less, depending on the company leadership.

We keep it simple:

  1. Before quarterly planning sessions, we do a quick 7- to 10-question Issues and Opportunities survey of executives, leaders and front-line employees. The results give us a sense of the sentiment in the company and clarify the tough issues that need to be on the table. It saves a ton of time, helps us to do our job better and ensures we don’t just do surface work.
  2. We add an outstanding 8-question assessment to help us to understand leadership behaviours, and if they are improving performance or eroding the company from the inside out. The correlation of the assessment results to their function or dysfunction is uncanny.
  3. 360 reviews on CEO and key leaders. For simplicity and impact, we ask between 9 and 12 questions for perspective on how well the leaders are doing, how they live core values and how they could be notably more effective. We’re not fans of long, statistical 360 ratings – we go for tangible examples.

For more weighty situations, or to help accelerate the growth of a high performer, we may go for deeper insights by interviewing 6 to 10 other people, who work with that leader.

Convert Insight to Action

In all cases, we make sure the information gathered is pulled it into plans for growth of individuals and the company, that we close the loop, and thank the people who gave us their time and energy giving us feedback.

Feedback can make people nervous but getting the truth on the table helps them to be more effective, sustains the good things they do and ensures the adjustments they need to improve.

As a leader, you have a choice about whether to learn about all the good and bad things going on. But if you keep pushing ahead without knowing, there’s always a serious long-term price to pay for the short-term bliss of avoidance.

The Challenge

  • When was the last time you and your organization had a good checkup?

PS For further insights on the value of 360 feedback, I encourage you to read Chapter 9 of my book (Get Tough Feedback).

PPS Let us know if we can help you to gather more valuable insights about your company or leaders.