Why 360 Degree Feedback can be a Business Consultant’s Best Tool
360 degree feedback is a process that often sends shudders through businesses, from the executives down to the frontline staff. But in reality the process usually lifts people up, identifies individual development needs and can improve the whole business. 360 feedback, implemented and managed properly, is not a process designed to bring people down.
The feedback from the process can be a powerful tool for business consultants, improving productivity and effectiveness when taking a deep dive into a company’s inner workings. Here is how 360 degree feedback can benefit businesses and business consultants alike.
What is 360 Degree Feedback?
In simple terms, 360 degree feedback refers to a process where individuals seek feedback from the people they interact with at work in order to determine perceived strengths and areas for development. For example, when seeking 360-degree feedback, a department manager may seek opinions from their superiors, other managers and their direct reports.
While it can be confronting to find out how you’re perceived by your peers and colleagues, it isn’t a witch-hunt and the purpose is to find out how you’re viewed, and whether there’s some areas you could improve. When conducted on a whole company level, within teams as well as for leaders, 360 feedback can help to build a real picture of where a company’s perceived strengths and weaknesses lie.
It’s important to remember this feedback is often based on perceptions. To that end, it shouldn’t be taken as fact. It can be a guide to conducting further analysis.
The Benefits of Feedback
Individuals are able to discover how they are perceived from the outside looking in. When framed and used correctly, this feedback can lead to development needs and areas of growth being discovered.
At a team level, it can help to establish a network of trust and support, allowing people to identify their learning needs and seek support from others to become a more highly skilled, agile unit.
From a whole organisation perspective, it can have countless benefits including training needs being identified, up-skilling of staff, and more awareness among employees for how their actions affect others.
360 Degree Feedback as a Business Consultancy Tool
From a business consultancy perspective, a 360 degree feedback process is invaluable for getting a general sense of where a company’s strength and weaknesses might lie. This gives you an instant ability to decide where to focus your attention and resources. By using a simple 360-degree feedback survey, you can get a clear snapshot of how leadership is perceived, and this gives you a great grounding to start assessing other areas of performance.
As mentioned, it can be a confronting process for leaders to go through, particularly if some of the results aren’t flattering. However, it is better for leaders to look in the mirror rather than keep their head in the sand. If things were all running smoothly, they wouldn’t be seeking your business consultancy services in the first place. When you’re comparing how a leader thinks others see them to how they’re actually perceived, make sure you frame those discussions with honesty, but tact. It’s important that leaders are on board with your processes if you’re going to be a driver for genuine change.
Using Feedback to Grow Your Consultancy Business
So, it’s pretty clear that using 360 degree feedback with your clients is beneficial for them, but how does it help you as the business consultant?
Firstly, it makes your job easier. When you’re able to get a good picture of how leaders are perceived, it can help you get a feel for the overall business. It helps you understand how leaders are feeling, how staff are feeling, and depending on how far you go with your surveys, you may even work out how customers are feeling.
By pointing you in the right direction of areas for improvement, you’ve already saved a lot of time and made yourself more productive. This information is also going to help you do a great job, which all adds to your successful portfolio that you can use to win new clients.
There’s another way that clever business consultants can use 360 degree feedback surveys to boost their income too. Many businesses are hesitant to spend large amounts of money on consultancy. It’s an investment for them, and while you understand the value of your service, convincing cautious business owners is another story.
But what if you were offering a much cheaper, much less intensive service? A 360 degree feedback service. This can be a way to test the waters with clients – it’s less risky for them from a financial point of view, but depending on what you discover, it gives you inside information to put together recommendations for further specialist consultancy services (performed by you, of course). Once business owners can see a need, and you’re able to show them the benefits, your smaller 360 degree feedback project could turn into a major client.
360 Degree Feedback Surveys for Business Consultants
Spark Chart offers a range of organisational surveys, including 360 degree feedback. They’re easy to generate, customisable, and can have you acquiring in-depth business knowledge from your clients quickly. You’ll be more effective, armed with more information, and able to grow your consultancy business fast.