Oct 5 2005

What a View, Part II

What a View, Part II

In Part I, I talked about how Return Path’s 360 reviews have become a central part of our company’s human capital strategy over the past five years.  While most staff members’ reviews have been done for weeks or months now, I just finished up the final portion of my own review, which I think is worth sharing.

I always include my Board in my own 360.  My process is as follows:

1. I send the Board all the raw (and summarized) data from the staff reviews of me, both quantitative and qualitative.

2. I send the Board a list of questions to think about in terms of their view of my performance (see below).

3. I have a third party moderator, in my case a great OD consultant/executive coach that I work with, Marc Maltz from Triad Consulting, meet with the Board (without me present) for 1-2 hours to moderate a discussion of these questions.

4. The moderator summarizes the conversation and helps me marry the feedback from the Board with the feedback from my team.

The questions I ask them to consider are different from the question my staff answers about me, because the relationship and perspective are different.  For each question, I also summarize what their collective response was the prior year to refresh their memory.

1. Staff management/leadership:  How effective am I at building and maintaining a strong, focused, cohesive team?  Do I have the right people in the right roles at the senior staff level?

2. Resource allocation:  Do I do a good enough job balancing among competing priorities internally?  Are costs adequately managed?

3. Strategy:  Did you feel like last year’s strategy session was thorough enough?  Do you think we’re on target with what we’re doing?  Am I doing a good enough job managing to it while being nimble enough to respond to the market?

4. Execution:  How do I and the team execute vs. plan?  What do you think I could be doing to make sure the organization executes better?

5. Board management/investor relations:  Do you think our board is effective and engaged?  Have I played enough of a role in leading the group?  Do you as a director feel like you’re contributing all you can contribute?  Do I strike the right balance between asking and telling?  Are communications clear enough and regular enough?

6. Please comment on how I have handled some of the major issues in the past 12 months (with a listing of critical incidents).

The feedback I got is incredibly valuable, and once I marry it with the feedback I got from my staff, I will have my own killer development plan for the next 12-24 months.