Visual displays

I always think that part of what makes for an effective 360 degree feedback report is the way the information is displayed. And that’s not straightforward either, because the information can be quite complex – lots of different items in different competencies, shown for all the different people with their different relationships.

Personally, I think the key is to show all the information but still to keep it simple – a difficult balance to strike. A recent client wanted to be able to have a chart that showed the averages for each competency but with self contrasted with everyone else. Here, as always, you want the visual display to do the job of turning the data into insights that can guide action. An obvious way would have been to use a scatterplot. Here’s a quick sample I knocked up in Excel (it’s from real data on a 360 I did on myself).

Self vs Others - Scatterplot

However, I think scatterplots can be quite intimidating for people – I find that less analytically-minded people find them confusing. The insights don’t jump out at you. It’s also difficult to fit all the words on. What I came up with was just a simple bar chart but with the self scores ‘overlaid’ as diamonds. Elva suggested putting an ‘S’ in the diamonds as a subtle cue to make it easy to remember that it means ‘self’.

Self vs Others - Bars + diamonds

I think it works really well. The difference in opinion on the ‘Resilience and Drive’ competency jumps out at you doesn’t it? And, more importantly, the client really liked it too. Now I just have to understand how it is that I’m so deluded about how resilient and driven I am!

Mark


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