How can you improve your performance and that of your leadership team? Meet a growing leader now experiencing the answer on a daily basis—and discovering that when you begin to understand how character, competence and chemistry work together, your workplace culture—and your organization—can truly thrive.
Todd Hubers is Vice President for People, Strategy, and Technology at Calvin College in Holland, Michigan. In my recent interview with him, he put his finger on the challenge facing senior leadership:
“One of our key objectives has been to create a thriving workplace that’s in alignment with Calvin’s mission and our strategic plan. For this to happen, we needed a tool to develop leaders with the competence and character that’s critical to both the individual’s and the organization’s success.”
With such a clear objective in place and so much on the line, Todd chose to leverage the proven effectiveness of the 360-degree review process that provides a true, comprehensive measure of a leader’s character, competence and chemistry as part of a team.
Several trusted studies have shown that the 360 review process provides not just the perspective of a single direct report, but rather multiple perspectives of one’s colleagues needed to identify a leader’s strengths and the areas in which he or she needs to improve.
In selecting the competency-based 360 approach, Calvin’s senior leadership had a running start: Engagement research shows that the Christian character of leaders is a key element of employee productivity in faith-based organizations.
At Calvin College, implementing the 360 was clear and straightforward:
- Ensure the support of President Michael K. Le Roy and his executive leadership team.
- Work with an experienced provider to customize the 360 instrument to Calvin’s specific need, and then facilitate the entire process. (Calvin requested specific emphasis on competency around cultural diversity and inclusion.)
- Effectively communicate the goals and review process with all 360 participants
- Develop an action plan that combines a personalized, strength-based review, along with mid-year and annual checkpoints to encourage and accelerate each individual’s continued leadership development.
Calvin’s eight-member executive team, including Todd, completed the 360 in year one. Sixteen vice presidents completed the 360 in year two. The plan is for thirty to forty divisional leaders to reap the benefits of the 360 process in year three.
The 360 transformed the performance review process, which in the past was based on operational results, to one that now develops a culture of high trust, transparency, mutual accountability, teamwork and collaboration.
“Our leadership effectiveness is now measured not only by our level of competence, but also by our character and chemistry,” says Todd. “The 360 generates the kind of specific feedback and action items we need to serve each other more effectively as a team.”
Leadership effectiveness should be measured not only by competence, but also by character and chemistry.
He adds, “The 360 showed me how much I focus on competence to resource my team, and that I needed to develop the chemistry for mentoring those I’m responsible to lead. The feedback I received—and now using it for the benefit of others and myself—has been invaluable.”
And for a final, important thought:
“Don’t underestimate the strategic value of your workplace culture and your leadership development to create the healthy, thriving culture needed to accomplish your goals. Developing strong leaders is at the root of organizational success, and the 360 review is going to be at the core of that process.”
That’s the 360—as in character, competence and chemistry.