Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Feedback overload - now my McKinsey boss wants my "360" feedback!


Giving and receiving feedback is an integral part of the McKinsey experience - it's what drives our development by letting us know if we're on the right track and how we can improve.  At McKinsey, feedback is meant to be constructive, not punitive, even if does feel harsh at times.  It's also part of our culture for McKinsey leadership to value upward feedback from their teams.

In this post I'll discuss the frequency of feedback and our openness to giving and receiving upward (aka "360") feedback.  There's also a link to another post on McKinsey feedback model.


Each McKinsey engagement team will develop team norms around how and how often feedback will be given.  Most teams I was part of agreed on weekly, formal one-on-one feedback sessions and impromptu feedback after learning opportunities (e.g., if something goes especially well or poorly during a meeting, feedback will be given discreetly immediately afterward).

If you're working with someone from McKinsey, you might feel like you're getting way too much feedback, but a) they're just doing what they've been trained to do and b) they're probably trying to help you out.  Most of the high-performing BAs and ASCs with whom I worked would request frequent and frank feedback from McKinsey leadership and peers.


Outside of McKinsey, I've found it rare to meet supervisors who sincerely value and want upward feedback from their direct reports.  However, within McKinsey, almost without exception, anyone I reported to would actively seek out, listen to, and express appreciation for upward feedback (even if they didn't always act on it).

If your supervisor is a former McKinsey consultant, be prepared to be asked for upward feedback, especially if you request feedback first.  And be ready to offer some constructive, actionable feedback - not just empty praise.

If a former McKinsey consultant works for you, be prepared to receive - or at least be offered - upward feedback.  If you're not used to receiving feedback from your direct reports it might be uncomfortable at first, but it's worth trying - you're likely to receive insightful, actionable, and helpful suggestions.


I'll cover the McKinsey feedback model in my next post - it's a useful tool for preparing for and having these feedback conversations.

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