The 360 degrees evaluation (the “what?”)
Each year, I make a 360 degrees evaluation of how I am perceived by people from different areas and fields in my life, from which I ask to tell me 4 things they like (appreciate, resonate) and 4 things they don’t like (which could use improvement). All of us have so-called “blind spots”, things we don’t know about ourselves. Sometimes, other people know us better or, at least, they have a glimpse of understanding which may help us to know ourselves better. I am sure each person has such an experience of knowing oneself better through the observations of others.
There are two major classifications of the people I ask feedback from (the “who?”):
1 a. People that got to know me for a certain period or which I worked with for a while (examples: relatives, friends, customers, collaborators, colleagues)
1b. People that I met once or twice on different occasions (networking events, short-period training, people I talked to over the internet, dating)
2a. People in the professional field (customers, collaborators, web 2.0, trainers, coaching)
2b. People in the personal field (relatives, friends, acquaintances, apartment colleagues, dating, hobby activities – related)
The main criteria for choosing people is to have had contact with those I’m asking, in the previous year, and to have a balanced representation among all the categories and areas where I can be personally known. That’s why I plan to ask a few dozen of people, to get a complete answer from at least half of them.
There are two purposes of this exercise (the “why?” and the “when?”).
First, is personal development. I have set a few personal development directions for 2012, based on my opinions, but I haven’t made an objective evaluation based on other people’s impressions until this week. I am doing this evaluation once a year. But this year, it got a little bit more special: I also did an analysis on the past 6 years. I re-interpreted the data and it’s almost ready. In a few days, I will share with you some of my conclusions on this blog.
The second is personal branding evaluation. It’s important to know which are the main attributes that define me in the other people’s eyes. That helps me understand how to communicate myself in the most natural way. If people perceive me in a certain way, it is easier to communicate about myself on those aspects that are naturally perceived from my part.
The methodology (the “how?”)
As a methodology, I take the 4 positive attributes and the 4 negative attributes from all the people that gave me a complete answer, I search for patterns and I identify the common attributes from these patterns, according to the importance they have, measured in points. I then make a top of the main positive and the main negative attributes. I ask each year from different people, over the phone, over messenger and face to face, because it’s important to have an objective opinion. Sometimes I seek answers from people I asked in the previous years, but that’s under 10 % of the people I ask. Usually, there are more than enough individuals to ask for the first time every year in all the categories.
The main objections I get are: “Oh, but I don’t know you that well”, either if it’s coming from someone who knows me since 7 years ago or someone who I met last fall; “Oh, but you’re OK the way you are, who am I to judge what’s good and what’s wrong about you!” – again, this is not self-esteem improvement, actually, I will most likely forget what each person told me, that’s why I’m taking notes while getting the answers. I’m interested rather in the average of all subjective impressions.