Development and 360-degree feedback have become very well-known and extensively used words, at least in organizational contexts. The importance of development and the use of 360-degree feedback in the process have been highlighted by many, and millions are spent annually worldwide on developmental programs, despite economic crises and recessions.

We often hear complaints echoed by organizational decision-makers regarding the return on investment (or not) from such developmental initiatives as 360-degree feedback programs. Furthermore, a lot of variability is observed in the transfer of development to the workplace in the form of actual change in skill levels, behaviors, and attitudes. Unfortunately, few have attempted to explore why that is.

People differ in many ways and at different levels. They differ in their skills, capabilities, and competencies, they differ in the way and extent to which they learn and apply any learning, and they differ in their willingness and readiness to learn, change, and develop.

So what about people’s readiness? How do we know when people are ready to develop? How do we gauge the right timing for people to take 360-degree feedback assessments and then to take steps for their own development? As a reminder, we develop ourselves and others in order to be prepared to face and handle challenging and complex situations, increasing the likelihood of success.

Over the past several years, I conducted extensive research into the matter. I suggest that Developmental Readiness is a product of three very important concepts: namely self-awareness, self-motivation, and self-regulation. What I also suggest, in line with other research on developmental readiness, is that readiness will actually accelerate a person’s developmental journey.

Why self-awareness, self-motivation, and self-regulation? Self-awareness includes emotional awareness, self-confidence, and an accurate self-image, self-regulation includes self-control, trustworthiness, personal responsibility, and adaptability, while self-motivation includes initiative, commitment, and optimism.

With self-awareness comes an understanding of oneself, of one’s biases, emotions, assumptions, motivations, etc… Self-awareness is the ability to understand the reasons behind one’s values, beliefs, behavior, thoughts, etc… the ability to see one’s strengths and weaknesses, how one comes across to others, and how one is perceived by others. Ultimately, self-awareness increases one’s acceptance of who one is and who one is capable of becoming.

Self-awareness increases one’s acceptance of who one is and who one is capable of becoming. Click To Tweet

Self-motivation is the drive towards learning, experimenting, initiative, and commitment. It is about setting goals congruent with one’s expectations, values, and preferences, working towards them with energy and persistence even in the face of adversity and challenges, and monitoring one’s progress towards goal attainment, mastery and performance.

Self-regulation is the ability to assess, evaluate, control, and rectify thoughts, attitudes, emotions, and behavior according to one’s own goals and values, and in response to feedback from the environment and social interactions. It is a process of assessment, monitoring, and control.

I argue that these three elements work synergistically together to constitute your developmental readiness. As self-awareness increases, you are more aware of what areas you need to develop. As you become aware of the gap between where you are now and where you would like to be (in terms of competencies, skills, capabilities, etc…), you are motivated to decrease that gap. As you become motivated to decrease that gap, you start exerting more control over your thoughts, attitudes, and behavior, thus facilitating your self-regulation processes. As self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-motivation interact, you becomes more ready to develop, more eager to change, and more receptive to learning (and applying that learning).

Note that a 360-degree feedback is only an instrument, and an instrument is only effective when used in the right way and for the right purposes. Taking a 360-degree feedback as a stand-alone exercise can only be very minimally effective unless it is followed by developmental plans and actions, supported by coaches and the organization or community. So when is one ready to take a 360-degree feedback assessment?

It would do people and organizations well to pay attention to this issue of people’s developmental readiness. When people are ready to develop, then their learning and development is maximized because they are more receptive.

So, to make a long story short – before you take or recommend a 360-degree feedback exercise (which in itself can greatly increase your self-awareness), check motivation and regulation levels, work on those, and then take action.

Ready for a 360-degree feedback assessment? You can conduct one in a work, family, or friends context on


About the Author:

Mariam Shebaya, PhD

Mariam’s educational journey began with Computer Science, continued into Management, and subsequently turned into a headlong dive into industrial/organizational psychology, focusing specifically on leadership development and developmental readiness. Her professional life revolved around IT, Management, Leadership Development, Coaching, and HR Consulting. Mariam is passionate about development and people, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the core of SelfStir Limited.

A sneak peek from the team on Mariam:

“Never takes deadlines seriously, always finishes way before she’s supposed to.”

“Our in-house psychologist.”