A great tool I came across a few years back is the 360° Evaluation. One of my mentors had me do this as we began a long relationship. It is a great tool for current evaluation of where you are in your life. These people may or may not know your goals and may or may not know what you are currently working on. The goal here is to identify where you are based on unbiased opinion (meaning anyone but ourselves).
We tend to lean one of two ways when we are evaluating ourselves. We are either…
- Extra hard on ourselves. We can tend to be extra critical of ourselves, hence the saying “I am my worst critic.”
- or We give ourselves more credit than we deserve. This is when we get a little prideful about who we are and what we can do.
What this will help you do is gain a 360°perspective of your strengths and weaknesses. This is to be used as a starting point for where you are and then continually to stay on top of your next steps or to make sure you are on the right track.
Okay here is what you do.
- Ask 10 people close to you to give you, what they perceive to be, your biggest strength and your biggest weakness. These 10 people need to be from various areas of life. For instance, they cannot all be family. Think family, church, mentors, employers, teachers, friends, girlfriend, etc. Make sure it is well-rounded and from all areas of your life. Try to ask people who you respect and that you would like to keep involved in your life.
- Record what you receive back. Once you get the information back from those you ask insert it into a simple spreadsheet that will help you interact with it.
- Take notice of repetition. The main strengths and weaknesses in your life will show up consistently. While you will most likely have a few various responses you will also have one or two that show up at least 3 times each. Pay attention to those. This will occur in both your strengths and weaknesses.
Feel free to use this simple spreadsheet to record your 360 Degree Evaluation. Download it here.
Once you have received all your responses and put them in the spreadsheet you are then able to do 2 things that are your next steps.
- Exploit your strengths. When you see the few strengths that repeat find as many ways to continue to sharpen and apply those in your influence as soon as possible.
- Focus on your weaknesses. The weaknesses that show up repeatedly should fall into one of two categories, character or skills. If the weakness is character, then immediately set out to correct it. Character weaknesses will always cause draft as you are pushing hard to lead and influence more people. If however it is a skills weakness you will need to evaluate it to see if you are able to delegate it, outsource it, or if you need to learn it.
Spend more time employing your strengths then working on your skill weaknesses. Character weakness will slow you down faster than you are able to build upon your strengths. Eventually they will pull you under or the weight of it will take so much energy you will need to crawl. Take care of it first and when the opportunity to fly presents itself you will not have extra baggage.