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 them to tell me 4 things they like (appreciate, resonate) and 4 things they don’t like (which could use improvement). We all 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 area (relatives, friends, acquaintances, apartment colleagues, dating, hobby activities – related)
The main criteria for choosing people are 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. I plan to ask a few dozen 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 keep doing this evaluation once a year. But this year, it got a little bit more special: I also did an analysis of the past 6 years. I re-interpreted the data, and it’s almost ready. I will share some of my conclusions on this blog in a few days.
The second is personal branding evaluation. It’s essential to know the main attributes that define me in other people’s eyes. That helps me understand how to communicate myself most naturally. If people perceive me in a certain way, it is easier to share about myself those aspects that are naturally perceived on my part.
The methodology (the “how?”)
As a methodology, I take the 4 positive and 4 negative attributes from all the people who gave me a complete answer. Then, I search for patterns and identify the common attributes from these patterns according to their importance, measured in points. I then make a top of the main positive and negative attributes. Then, I ask different questions each year from other people, over the phone, over messenger, and face to face because it’s essential to have an objective opinion. Sometimes I seek answers from people I asked in 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 has known me since 7 years ago or someone who I met last fall; “Oh, but you 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. So I’m interested instead in the average of all subjective impressions.
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