For anyone trying to build a brand or attempting professional self-improvement it can sometimes be difficult to get a truly impartial opinion of your strengths and weaknesses. Quite often people won’t be honest in case it’s deemed rude or when you do get feedback it is only from one person, rather than a wide selection of your peers. These external views are critical however as without them you cannot improve your weakest aspects nor play to your greatest perceived strengths. Luckily there are services that can answer this exact problem and give you the much needed feedback for self-improvement.
“360°Reach is the first and leading web-based personal brand assessment that helps you get the real story about how you are perceived by those around you. It gives you the critical feedback you need so you can expand your career or business success. It’s an integral part of the personal branding process and an indispensable tool for thriving in today’s professional environment.” – excerpt 360°Reach
While I wouldn’t say it was indispensable, I would say that it is incredibly helpful and due to the survey being anonymised, people should in theory be entirely honest with you in their feedback and in great enough numbers for you to get a true reflection.
The service can be used for free for 14 days, after which you will need to purchase the service for a period of time. I easily managed to sign up for the service and get the feedback within the 14 days. Small things like having the list of email address of the people you wish to canvas and pre-emailing them from your email account informing them to expect and email form 360°Reach send on your behalf go a long way to expedite the process once you commit to the 14 days. It is also possible to add people through Facebook, though I didn’t undergo this method.
An interesting feature is for you to fill out a self-survey. This result can then be compared to the feedback you received and so highlight any gulfs between your internal and perceived strengths and weaknesses.
It is easy to add more emails to the list once the contacts already on the list have had the form link sent to them, as is sending out a reminder or thank you to those correspondents that have yet to or have completed the form. You can view the responses as they come in and 360°Reach is good about reminding you when your free 14 days are coming to a close.
The responses will only be visible after you have received ten forms back, this is to ensure that you will be unable to work out who gave which answers. There are six main sections:
- A list of ‘brand attributes’
- A list of ‘brand skills’
- Selection of strengths and weaknesses
- Projective exercise results
- Your ‘team role’
Brand attributes are words like “Precise”, “Bright” and “Strategic” etc. that each person can select up to eight of. These are then summed up across all the completed forms with the traits that the most people selected scoring the most highly.
Brand skills work in the same fashion as brand attributes, but these are geared towards skills like “Investigating”, “Visioning”, “Delivering quantifiable results” etc.
Strengths and weaknesses. Each form essentially has a text box that can be filled in with a personal strength or weakness. These are all collected and displayed together in the report for you to view more easily.
Projective exercise. This one was quite interesting. When reading the form to be sent out to you email list you have the option between four questions, one of the two that I selected was “If [Tom] was a household appliance, what would he be?” The point of this question is to give people a question with a non-obvious answer so that they have to really think about you and your traits and try and marry them to completely different things. This question gives a large amount of insight and some interesting answers. I won’t tell you what the other three questions are, I don’t want to ruin all your fun!
Team role is where (much as the brand attributes and brand skills) people select a box that best describes what role you would fulfil in a team and the role with the greatest number of votes scores the most highly. The options vary from “Creator” to “Doer” and “Leader” as well as a few other options.
Comments are a text box at the end of the form where people can leave extra text feedback if they wish. In my experience of the process very few people filled this in, but when they did, they did so for good reason from their perspective.
For anyone seriously looking to get an impartial view of themselves from their work colleagues, mentors, friends or family, I would recommend using 360°Reach. It allows for honest feedback in a large quantity and is free for 14 days. It has a few more than the key features listed above and does well at summarising the information and allows you to print all the information off in the form of a pdf. This means that you can take your time to look over and action the information gained.