January 13, 2011
What a View, Part III
We are in the middle of our not-quite-annual senior team 360 review process this week at Return Path. It’s particularly grueling for me and Angela, our SVP of People, to sit in, facilitate, and participate in 15 of them in such a short period of time, but boy is it worth it! I’ve written about this process before — here are two of the main posts (overall process, process for my review in particular, and a later year’s update on a process change and unintended consequences of that process change). I’ve also posted my development plans publicly, which I’ll do next month when I finalize it.
This year, I’ve noticed two consistent themes in my direct reports’ review sessions (we do the live 360 format for any VP, not just people who report directly to me), which I think both speak very well of our team overall, and the culture we have here at Return Path.
First, almost every review of an executive had multiple people saying the phrase, “Person X is not your typical head of X department, she really is as much of a general business person and great business partner and leader as she is a great head of X.” To me, that’s the hallmark of a great executive team. You want people who are functional experts, but you also need to field the best overall team and a team that puts the business first with understandings of people, the market, internal dependencies, and the broader implications of any and all decisions. Go Team!
Second, almost every review featured one or more of my staff member’s direct reports saying something like “Maybe this should be in my own development plan, but…” This mentality of “It’s not you, it’s me,” or in the language of Jim Collins, looking into the mirror and not out the window to solve a problem, is a great part of any company’s operating system. Love that as well.
Ok. Ten down, five to go. Off to the next one…