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Monkeys Looking Sideways

by admin on December 03, 2009
If Monkeys could be Business Mentors
If Monkeys could be Business Mentors

I threw out the corporate 360 Reviews years ago in favor of something I made up that I call ‘Monkeys Looking Sideways’.

Years ago at a seminar I heard a story about monkeys in a tree.  When the monkey at the top looked down all he saw was smiling monkeys looking up.  However, the monkeys below had an entirely different view.

It was at this seminar that I thought about doing 360 Reviews live and in front of the rest of the team.  I always try to build teams that embrace healthy conflict and that want to build more trust.  Well open communication like this takes trust up to an awesome level.  I built this exercise so everyone on a team would know what everyone else thought and they’d hear it in person so they could grow together.

The Monkeys Looking Sideways exercise works like this.

Essentially it is a verbal, in person, group 360 feedback. Ideally get everyone out of the office for a half to a full day.  It’s a great exercise to do on company or team retreats too.

1) Give everyone 1 pad of Post It Notes and a pen.
2) Do the review of the groups leader or CEO first.
3) Have each person write down the TOP 5 things that the person being reviewed:

a) Should continue
b) Should improve on

4) Then with the person being review staying in their seats, have one person at a time stand up and read out each post it note.  Start with all the positives first and then they read the stuff to work on second.
5) The person being reviewed can only say thank you or ask a clarifying question.  There is no debate.
6) Have all of the Post It Notes put up on a flip chart and give them to the person being reviewed so they can type them up and refer to them in their one-on-one coaching meetings with their supervisor over the year to keep working on improving.
7) Repeat the process for each person in the room.

This exercise done properly takes about 45 min per person but will be way more effective than the garbage that comes out of any online or 3rd party 360 Review Process.

In addition to using it in your company try it with an EO, YPO Forum or TEC/Vistage group on a retreat too.  It’d be awesome…

For information on this topic, check out: Leadership at 100MPH.

3 thoughts on “Monkeys Looking Sideways”

  1. I love it. Even though I’m quite feisty and could see myself snapping on someone if they tell me to work on something that I’m great at, I think this exercise could be very useful. I’ve always felt that all my 360 reviews were just a bunch of dishonest crap anyway.

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