A Unique Approach.

‘To see ourselves as others see us’ has long been recognised as a way to improve. 360° feedback provides that opportunity. The Vector Group approach to 360º feedback produces an instrument that is seen as relevant by the target group, that is understood by them and therefore delivers feedback that is more readily accepted than that from an ‘off the shelf’ instrument. Critically it focuses on developing individuals, not on assessing them. It is driven by the belief that everyone can improve, no matter how good they currently are but need some help in focusing their efforts.

To develop an instrument we take account of existing frameworks, competencies, values etc and in discussion with the client decide on the most relevant categorisation structure.

In other words we look to the target population to ‘define’ the value in observable behavioural terms. We then take this list, add to it any items already existing in the organisation from competency work or performance management and end up with some twenty to thirty items per value.

We can then take the optional step of involving members of the target population in the development of the instrument. This creates a sense of ownership towards the items, which in turn means that the feedback is likely to be seen as relevant and so more likely to be accepted. In other words we look to the target population to ‘define’ the value in observable behavioural terms. We then take this list, add to it any items already existing in the organisation from competency work or performance management and end up with some 20 to 30 items per value. The next phase is to get the target group to decide upon the 6 to 10 practices that they all agree best represent their understanding of each value.

These form the feedback questionnaire. The items are randomly presented on the questionnaire to avoid any response bias.

Our objective is that every participant should give 1 questionnaire to his/her boss, up to 6 to his/her peers and up to 6 to his/her staff. It is possible to extend these groupings to include customers or some other category from whom feedback would be useful.

The distribution of the questionnaires can be either packs of paper forms or a complete on-line process. The guidelines for distribution are to give them to people from whom you would value receiving feedback, not just to those you know will give you a good rating.

Once completed the questionnaires are returned to us for analysis.The analysis process and output are unique to Vector Group. The graphs an individual receives provide a picture of those practices from the questionnaire where he/she is perceived to be performing relatively well/relatively poorly (see below). This relativity is to each individual's own average - not a group average. Therefore everyone gets something to work on, even the highest performers can do better and this treatment highlights exactly where.

We find the most effective way to give the feedback is in small groups with a facilitator whose role is firstly to ensure people fully understand the data then are able to get the most information from it and finally to interpret it in a way that enables them to identify specific actions to take.

A contract of confidentiality is established at the outset with the client. This means that until the particular individual chooses to share his/her data its content remains confidential between Vector Group and themselves. Furthermore for the ‘protection’ of those completing the forms we also guarantee that no individual rator's scores can be traced back to him/her as we only produce averaged scores. The exception to this is of 'course' the ‘boss’ scores. We find that such a contract encourages honesty of completion and a greater level of openness in the discussion of the feedback.

In order to maximise value from the data, we amalgamate it all into a ‘Community analysis’. This gives a picture of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the group as a whole and is of particular use when determining the content of the workshop during which the feedback is given to individuals.

We have used this approach to 360° feedback with numerous clients and provided feedback to over many 1000s of participants. It helps to bring about changes in people’s behaviour, particularly when a follow-up initiative is also put in place to encourage on-going feedback in the workplace.


A Unique Approach To Analysis.

The Vector approach to analysing 360 feedback and report production is unique. It uses the concept of Relative Strengths and Relative Weaknesses, and so is a development tool rather than an assessment tool.

  • High performers do not become complacent when they see their data.
  • Low performers do not become disillusioned and de-motivated.
  • Those completing the questionnaire can be totally honest without feeling they are ‘doing the person down’.

We identify Relative Strengths and Weaknesses by taking the average score each rator category scored a person on each value, plotting that as the ‘0’ axis on the graph then distributing the individual practice scores around that average. Hence all above the line are Relative Strengths and all below are Relative Weaknesses Relative that is to the other practices under that value.

Therefore these perspective comparison graphs do not give any indication of absolute strengths/weaknesses but simply show where an individual is relatively strong or relatively weak.

It also follows that the graphs are non-comparative as each person’s is produced against their own average. Hence the development nature of the feedback as opposed to assessment.

The examples show the different forms of feedback. The summary shows the average scores for each value and for each rator category. All that can be interpreted from this graph (Figure 1) is whether the individual rated themselves higher or lower than their boss, peers or reports and whether there is one value that is particularly strong/weak.

Figure 1 - Prespective comparisons: Summary.

The perspective comparison graph (Figure 2) is the one from which actions can be identified. In order to interpret this and subsequent graphs consider each bar in turn i.e. firstly the solid grey bar. This represents the way you rated yourself on each of the practices listed on the lower half of the sheet. In order to display the data we have taken your average score for these seven practices and plotted that as the central axis - labelled '0'. We have then simply spread the individual practice scores above and below this average line as appropriate.

Those above the line can legitimately be considered as Relative Strengths while those below the line are Relative Weaknesses. Furthermore because they are distributed around the average, everyone will have just as much above the line as below. Any apparently missing values indicate a score that is actually on the average.

We take the same approach for both the Boss scores and the scores of Reports and Peers.

Therefore by plotting all four sets of scores on the same horizontal axis it is possible at a glance to see where there is agreement/disagreement between rators. Where all four rators mark a practice above the line it is clearly a relative strength, if all are below then it is a relative weakness. A ‘blind spot’ is where the self rating is in the opposite position to everyone else. These can either be positive or negative.

The significance given to further interpretation depends on the role of the person. If he/she is in a major people management role then it is fair to assume that the ‘reports’ rating is more important than the peer, whereas if the person is in a specialist influencing role, the peer rating may be considered the more significant.

Figure 2 - Prespective comparisons: People's performance.

The ‘self’ and ‘boss’ in any survey are also asked to indicate how important they see each practice to be. The chart below (Figure 3) shows how these importance perspectives compare.

Figure 3 - Importance summary: People's performance.

For more information on how 360 could work in your organisation: contact us.