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It ain't what you do......

Harvey Bennett

| 1567 Posts

Chartered Fellow

15 Apr, 2013 12:22

It's the way that you do it....

Here is an article from the 13 April New York Times about 360 / multisource feedback for the most senior officers in the US military 

 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/us/militarys-top-officers-face-review-of-their-character.html?pagewanted=all&goback=%2Egde_1866363_member_232196650&_r=0

 I am intrigued by how (whether) this will work in a Command-and-Control culture.

What do you think?

Harvey 

  • I seem to recall a 360degree appraisal for officers of 1* rank and higher being introduced on a pilot scheme in the UK's armed forces a few years ago.  I don't know if it ever went mainstream.


    A problem inherent with the system for military officers, though, is that they often build, over their careers, a sort of informal "staff" of allies, friends and favours which, by the time one reaches star rank, can be turned into an actual staff, so that one's staff officers are often people whose careers have been inextricably tied to one's own, so even 360degree appraisal can be, as it were, pre-compromised.


    The long-term capital investment in someone of this rank is vast - measured comfortably in millions of dollars - so the risk implicit in identifying character failures at this level is strongly opposed by vested interests.  It would be far more effective to train appraising officers lower down the command chain to identify and test perceived character flaws before the investment is so heavy.


    It could be argued that this was what happened to me, as a comparatively junior officer.  The Army and I took a long look at each other and realized that we weren't compatible and so went our separate ways.  I'd've been an utterly rubbish Major, let alone a General.

  • Robey


    A problem inherent with the system for military officers, though, is that they often build, over their careers, a sort of informal "staff" of allies, friends and favours which, by the time one reaches star rank, can be turned into an actual staff, so that one's staff officers are often people whose careers have been inextricably tied to one's own, so even 360degree appraisal can be, as it were, pre-compromised.


    This isn't confined to the military - it happens just as much in civvy street.

  • Harvey Bennett

    | 1567 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    16 Apr, 2013 11:11

    It looks like the link to the NY Times didn't copy fully, so here it is again.

     

     

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/us/militarys-top-officers-face-review-of-their-character.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

     

     

    Very good points made, Robey and Robert.

    I seems to me that  the 360 (multisource) survey tool is being used for the

    wrong purpose....in my view it smacks more of a performance appraisal and

    "let's see if we can catch this person out", rather than a more developmental

    purpose.

    I understand that a version of 360 is used at the West Point Academy, and

    has been since the 1960s, for the development of junior officer cadets.

    The "weeding out" process needs to be rigorous at the more junior levels, as

    you rightly point out, Robey. I think that there are immense cultural issues, too,

    with certain types of personalities not fitting in (you and me, both!).

    Maybe a confidential phone-in line, like that available for airline pilots, might be

    an option to be developed. But not 360!!!

    Harvey

     

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