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If You Go Down to the Woods Today….


Surely at some point we have all either read a book of, or watched an episode of A.A.Milne’s wonderful tales about Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the 100 Acre Wood.

 The characters are adorable and each unique. Pooh Bear creates little tunes, hums about anything at all and spends much of his time with his head stuck in a pot of ‘hunny’. Eeyore is an unbelievably loveable donkey who is dismally gloomy most of the time. Piglet likes to wear a long striped pink shirt, his favourite food is ‘Haycorns’ and Kanga the Kangaroo is famous for saying "Now now Roo, you mustn't do that dear," to which her little joey named Roo mostly replies, "But moma!". My favourite character is Owl, supposedly the wisest creature in the 100 Acre wood. An admirable trait of Owl’s is that he is very happy to offer his advice, anecdotes and opinions irrespective of his friends wanting it or not.

 Nature has endowed owls with a great gift…the ability to swivel their heads over 135 degrees left and right. This allows the owl approximately a 270 degree view in which to spot dinner or danger. The owl’s swiveling head is a necessity for this feathered friend, as nature has provided this beautiful creature with eyes at the front of its head instead of on the sides. Although front vision gives the owl well developed binocular vision for hunting, it makes it hard for an owl to see towards the back and sides of its body the way other birds can.

 Unlike our wise friend the owl, us non-feathered beings only have the ability to rotate our heads 60 to 80 degrees.  Thankfully our survival doesn’t rely on us being able to swivel our heads to see what’s coming in the same way that an owl does. There are however times in our lives, when we too would benefit from a wider view than the 80 degree rotation that the human neck can muster.

 In business, 360 degree feedback is one tool that gives us the ability to see beyond our normal forward vision. It acts as a virtual blind-spot mirror, revealing new insights into working relationships and opportunities for improving employee engagement. Candidates taking part in such a review get an all round 360 degree view of their performance from their manager, direct reports and peers.

 We may not have the neck rotation of an owl but we do have the ability through 360 degree feedback to gain a full insight into how our behaviour and the way we work have an impact on others. To the individual and the team as a whole, the benefits of this tool are immeasurable.

 Maybe if Owl were to take part in a 360 degree feedback review he may learn to communicate better?

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