Print This Post Print This Post

Ever since glorious Michael O’Leary CEO of Ryanair was told to control himself and get close to the customer (I know that his heart rate went to dangerous peak when he heard that) and accept that the company was going to have a brand new sophisticated CRM system, and he said what he said, I have been thinking about this.

O’Leary actually said, we are going to get really, really, seriously close to customers; we are going to have a new CRM system and then we will CRM them a hell of a lot. And I thought it was the most wonderful management line I have ever heard on the topic. I found myself singing Queen’s ‘we will we will rock you’ with new lyrics, ‘we will we will CRM you’.

Well, we have our own organizational weapons to shoot to employees ‘a hell of a lot’. I know how unpopular I make myself with my friends in HR/OD and L&D global tribes when I say that the 360 degree feedback system in management and leadership development is often used as a weapon. Something is gone wrong, or ‘funny’, or whatever, and suddenly we are asking 10 people to feed back ‘constructively’ to Peter on this wonderful system called ‘a 360’. OK, you’ll say, but we don’t ‘do this to Peter’ but to the entire management team (which includes Peter) so it’s nothing personal.

The 360 degree feedback system is an incredibly convenient, highly efficient, professionally crafted, psychologically flawed way of  missing the point. Also a cathartic ritual. The point being, for every 360 input, there is a face to face, frank conversation that did not take place. Of course it is convenient. So it’s Expedia or AirB&B. There are lots of very convenient things in managerial life. That does not make them right.

My ranting in this topic, is only second to the one of Employee Engagement Surveys. In many years as organizational consultant I have yet to see one single, serious 360 feedback process that made a real change in the individual. None. Zero. No even when I instructed them being in leadership positions in global compnaies. Note I am not saying it did not make life easier for the manager.

The 360 system is in reality a Capability Supermarket Inventory Management by Crowdsourcing. Dear Peter, you are a bit low in communication; OK in attitude; vision? not really, not very clear; but good team player although below average in trust. Re-stock your shelves please. And that’s it. OK, we will help you with  a Certified Replenishment Coach. And frankly, you are not doing terrible well on total scores (against an artificially created norm that has decided what is good, what is balanced, and what is desirable) , so that promotion form grade 4 to grade 5, forget it. Thanks.

You have – I know you have –  plenty of examples that contradict my gloomy view of those ‘technologies’. I appreciate that. I have also plenty of those examples where ‘the technology’ has been misused, commoditised, trivialised, robotisized, and, also, yes, used as weapon, a justification, a pseudo-scientific intervention, a diversion from a human to human conversation, a legitimization ‘by the data’ of a course of action that needed go be taken, an alibi for managerial incompetence.

I am warning about the excesses. About 360-ing you, or CRM-ing you.

So many subjective, gratuitous and pointless things can be done on behalf of ‘objectivity’. Organizational life is not immune. I want to reclaim the conversation that does not need a questionnaire.

Keep up with the Daily Thoughts

Twitter Email

Would you like to comment?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To search my website, please use the form below.

  Daily Thoughts

September 27th, 2023

Redefining Talent Wealth

The war on talent McKinsey consultants started it with a book of the same title. By focusing on what it […]

September 8th, 2023

What I Learnt From The Monks: A Little Anthropology Of Leadership And Space On One Page

My friends, monks of a Benedictine monastery in the Highlands, Scotland, spend most of the time in silence. I mean, […]

August 23rd, 2023

Can We Rescue DEI From Its Trap (The Label)?

Most of the problems and challenges in organizations, together with most of the solutions, are behavioural in nature. It’s about […]

August 10th, 2023

Restructuring to force collaboration, is likely to create more anxiety than collaboration. Structural solutions for behavioural problems hardly work.

Sometimes restructuring is done with the intention of solving a collaboration problem. ´A people´ don’t talk to ´B people´; if […]

July 18th, 2023

The ‘Impossible To Disagree With’ School Of Management

‘Good leaders have empathy, respect employees and set the example. If you want to change things, you need to have […]

June 29th, 2023

Large scale change is not small scale change repeated many times. Small wins repeated are lots of small wins.

Large scale change, as a series of cascading small scale interventions (often under the philosophy of ‘small wins’) has dominated […]

June 6th, 2023

Culture change is not long and difficult. But we make it so…

I suppose the question is how long is long and how difficult is difficult? In general, business and organizational consulting have […]

May 19th, 2023

Value is an overused term in business and, as such, it’s becoming meaningless

Value, as usually used, means transactional monetary value. Usually it doesn’t mean intrinsic value, or value per se. For example, […]

May 4th, 2023

The importance of ‘critical thinking.’ Your own critical thinking is more effective at making your workplace better than any generic employee survey.

Build your own Employee Engagement argument for free. You can’t go wrong. Here are three baskets full of concepts: Basket […]

April 21st, 2023

´Busy-Ness’ Is A Trap

I went to a big conference where I was introduced by the chairman like this: “Welcome everybody. Lovely to have […]

April 14th, 2023

Training and culture change. The love affair that ends in tears.

It seems to be very hard for people to get away from the idea that if we just put individuals […]

April 11th, 2023

Teamocracies and Networkracies have different citizens: in-Habitants in team-work, riders in net-work

The old view of the organization is something close to the old concept of a medieval city, where citizenship was […]

April 5th, 2023

3 Ways To Get Approval From Your CEO Or Your Leadership Team

Way number 1: My team has developed these three options, A, B and C. Which one do you want us […]

March 29th, 2023

A Cheat Sheet To Create A Social Movement Tip = to shape organizational culture since both are the same.

Mobilizing people. This is another of the Holy Grails (how many have I said we have?) in management. Whether you […]

March 16th, 2023

Critical Thinking Self-Test: A 10 Point Health Check For Your Organization And Yourself. If any of these are a good picture of your organization, you need to put ‘critical thinking’ in the water supply.

Test yourself, and your organization. Do any of these apply? Doing lots, too fast without thinking. High adrenaline, not sure […]

March 9th, 2023

A culture of safety or a culture of training in safety?

Cultures are created by behaviours becoming the norm. Safety is at the core of many industries. Significant budgets are allocated […]

March 2nd, 2023

Empowerment is an output. If you can visualize it, you can craft it.

The real question is, what do you want to see happening so that you can say ‘people are empowered’? Employee […]

February 24th, 2023

A simple question will jumpstart your organization into change. It will also save you from months of pain spent reorganizing your people and teams.

The following line will short-cut months of (building) ‘alignment’, integration, reorganization, team building, coalition building, and any situation in which Peter, […]

February 20th, 2023

Lead Via Peer-To-Peer Networks – If you don’t lead via peer-to-peer networks, you’re only driving your car in first gear.

Peer-to-peer work, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is the […]

February 7th, 2023

Write a script, not a strategic plan

If you care about the journey and the place, you need a story. If you have a good, compelling one, […]

January 26th, 2023

3 self-sabotaging mechanisms in organizations

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage. These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

January 10th, 2023

Who should be involved in culture change? All inclusive versus going where the energy is.

Many times, in my consulting work, I find myself facing a dilemma: Do I involve many people on the client’s […]

December 23rd, 2022

Tell what won’t change – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

In any change programme that any organization wants to start, they will start by thinking of the things that they […]

December 16th, 2022

Scale It – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

When creating effective change in any organization, there are 40 rules that, in my experience, are the key between success […]

December 5th, 2022

Assets & Strengths Base – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

For more than 30 years I have been involved in ‘change’ in organizations. Again and again, some fundamental principles, and often […]

November 25th, 2022

Campaign It… is 1 of my 40 rules of change

When you filter out the noise, when you try to extract the core, the fundamentals, those ‘universal rules’ of change […]

October 31st, 2022

Hybrid or not hybrid? That’s not the question…

Culture is the new workplace If you want to have a conversation about the future of work, the nature of […]

October 24th, 2022

‘Powered by Viral Change™’: A Social Transformation Platform for the organization of the 21st Century

When we started to work on Viral Change™, as a way to create large scale behavioural and cultural change, and […]

October 14th, 2022

Corporate tribes, intellectual ghettos and open window policies

We talk a lot about silos in organizations usually in the context of Business Units or divisions. But these are not […]

October 7th, 2022

Peer Networks are the strongest force of action inside the organization

Peer-to-peer works, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is […]