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360 Feedback

Former COO of Google, Europe

IP Interview
Published on February 23, 2020

Why is this interview interesting?

  • Why 360-feedback from various different team members is crucial to building a healthy culture
Executive Bio

Ben Legg

Former COO of Google, Europe

Ben is an engineer by training and spent over 10 years in the Royal Engineers in the British Army career before moving to McKinsey. In 2002, he moved to Coca-Cola where he ran teams across Eastern Europe before turning around the Indian business leading 12,000 salespeople. Ben then moved to Google where was COO of UK and Ireland for 2 years before being promoted to COO Europe where he was responsible for writing the monetisation blueprint of Google’s various properties. This involved defining the role of ad units, properties, interactions with agencies and partners, and devising how auctions should work. Ben then ran a Yellow Pages turnaround before running an ad-tech business for 6 years which ran $200m of ad spend through the major technology platforms. Ben is the author of Marketing for CEO’s and is on the Board of The Oxford Foundry where he is a mentor and investor to multiple startups.

Interview Transcript

What do you think is the most effective feedback mechanism?

There are lots of types of feedback; about individuals, tasks. I would say, if you’re talking about developing individuals to become better at their jobs, probably the best feedback mechanism would be 360 feedback, in which people don’t just get feedback from their boss. It’s a structured questionnaire; you get feedback from your boss, typically three to five peers, and two or three direct reports — because it’s great to get all those angles.

In companies where all assessments about an individual are coming from the boss, you tend to get a very obedient, static organisation in which everyone just wants to please the boss, and you don’t want an organisation where everyone wants to please the boss. They want to build a great company, delight customers, solve problems; not just necessarily the problems the boss gave them but problems that need solving. Having a culture in which people know their career depends on being a collaborator, being a good leader of their people, and pleasing the boss is a much healthier culture than one in which people are only trying to please the boss.

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