How Often Should You Repeat a 360-Degree Feedback Process?

May 3, 2012 by Sandra Mashihi

“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as is what direction we are moving.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

When we think of revisiting the implementation of 360s, we want to consider the time needed to make meaningful behavior change, and for that change to be seen by others. We recommend that somewhere between 12 to 24 month intervals are most appropriate for repeating a 360-degree feedback process. This allows people to work through their development and action plans to create change.  For example, Envisia Learning Inc. provides a time series 360-degree feedback report that combines and summarizes results from the first and subsequent administrations of 360-degree feedback to show change in scores over a time period.

Of course, it is also highly recommended to periodically evaluate the impact of the participant’s goal setting and development plan progress.  For example, Envisia Learning Inc. has a goal evaluation system called ProgressPulse which can be administered at any time following coaching or training asks invited raters to evaluate progress on specific participant goals (i.e., whether they are improving, staying the same or even getting worse).  This feedback is combined into a brief report to help provide accountability and measure learning transfer.

Coach’s Critique: 

When thinking about when to repeat a 360-degree feedback assessment, it is important to consider a couple of issues before doing so. In my coaching practice, I have seen 360 sponsors that are quick to wanting to utilize the tool as a way to re-evaluate the participants progress.

It is a good idea to utilize a 360 again to track a participants progress with his or her development plan, however, there needs to be a realistic gauge at the time frame for behavioral change as well as sufficient sampling of behavioral change effort that people (raters) can notice.

In order for behavioral change to sustain and to be apparent in the eyes of others, participants need to commit to on-going deliberate practice of new habits. Frank Lally (2009) tested the number of days it takes for a behavior to become automatic, and found that depends on its complexity (eating habits take 65 days on average, exercise habits take 91 on average). This does not necessarily constitute a new skill or behavior as an expert.

Anders Erickson published research on the number of hours of practice it take to form a habit, and found that when individuals practice their new behaviors in a focused, structured, serious, and detailed way, it takes about 10,oooo hours to become an expert and unconsciously competent at a new behavior (Erickson, K.A., 2006). I will co-facilitate such research findings and on the topic “Clueless: Getting People to Successfully Change Behaviors” at the ASTD International Conference this Sunday, May 6th in Denver, Colorado.

So, we can gather that changing a habit and learning a new skill is not easy even with deliberate practice. So, before thinking about revisiting a repeat 360, they should consider a time gap in order for them to change their behavior and have sufficient change for it to be recognized by others.

What has been your experience with the time frame of when to do a repeat 360? Are there advantages and disadvantages of doing it sooner or later?

Dr. Sandra Mashihi is a senior consultant with Envisia Learning, Inc. She has extensive experience in sales training, behavioral assessments and executive coaching. Prior to working at Envisia Learning, Inc., She was an internal Organizational Development Consultant at Marcus & Millichap where she was responsible for initiatives within training & development and recruiting.. Sandra received her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles and received her Master of Science and Doctorate in Organizational Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology.

Posted in 360 Degree Feedback

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