Where Scientific Standards Meet Usability: 360 Degree Feedback Leadership Assessment at Its Best

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With dozens of 360 degree feedback surveys available today, finding the right tool can be a challenging endeavor but the new edition of "Feedback to Managers: A Guide to Reviewing and Selecting Multirater Instruments for Leadership Development", released last month, makes it easier by examining thirty-five instruments that meet the standards of educational and psychological testing. The Leadership Navigator® from 3D Group, stands out as a top 360 degree feedback tool in the industry for its scientifically valid yet user-friendly surveys.

Developing leadership is one of the top 3 challenges HR Leaders face today according to Human Resource Executive® 2013 “What’s Keeping HR Up at Night” Survey. A popular technique for leadership development, 360 degree feedback has been used widely over the past two decades. Even with 360 degree feedback as an established solution for developing strong leaders, determining which tool will work best can be a daunting task.

In the recently published 4th edition of the book "Feedback to Managers: A Guide to Reviewing and Selecting Multirater Instruments for Leadership Development", Jean Brittain Leslie highlights the top 360 degree feedback tools and provides guidance to HR professionals and organizational development officers in selecting the best tool for their organizational needs. By limiting the comparison to instruments that are designed specifically for leadership development, Leslie was able to significantly reduce the number of tools studied. Then applying the standards for educational and psychological testing set by the American Psychological Association (APA), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) Leslie was able to identify the top thirty-five scientifically valid 360 degree feedback instruments available today.

The book published by the non-profit Center for Creative Leadership goes into detail on many intricacies involved in selecting 360 degree feedback instrument, such as the types of reliability and validity testing used, rating scales, and scoring processes. When choosing a 360 degree feedback assessment these are all items to take into consideration; however to have a truly successful 360 degree feedback program, one of the most important components to judge is usability. A user-friendly, easy-to-interpret instrument ensures that leaders are able to understand the feedback, without getting lost in the data or complex diagrams like circumplexes or field diagrams. “We chose to represent the data in the Leadership Navigator® in easy-to-read formats because in the 20 years I have coached executives, I found that feedback is most effective when delivered in a straight-forward way,” says Dale Rose, Ph.D. President of 3D Group (http://www.3dgroup.net) whose Leadership Navigator® instrument was featured in the book. “Leaders shouldn’t need a Ph.D. to understand their 360 results and make improvements in workplace behaviors.”

The book, published last month, found that 66% of the assessments featured require professionals to become certified, qualified, and/or accredited. One of the few tools that are user-friendly and do not require certification, accreditation and/or qualification to use and understand their instrument was the Leadership Navigator®. When asked how 3D Group created a tool that both meet scientific standards and does not require certification, Dr. Rose cited significant researching and fine tuning the instrument over many years, saying, “We combined statistical analysis, research and experience to develop the tool but always kept the tool grounded for a positive user-experience.”

When assessing a 360 degree feedback tool’s potential, testing standards are often undervalued and overlooked; however, there is extensively researched science behind survey development. "Feedback to Managers: A Guide to Reviewing and Selecting Multirater Instruments for Leadership Development" helps HR managers and leaders narrow down the feedback tools to only include the feedback surveys grounded in best practices, tested, and designed for impact. The usability of a tool is best understood by comparing sample reports and certification requirements. Both aspects should be carefully examined before choosing a 360 degree feedback assessment to ensure the projects success.

More information about 3D Group and the Leadership Navigator® 360 degree feedback instrument is available at http://www.3dgroup.net. Dale Rose, Ph.D., President of 3D Group is available for interviews. Please call Justine Lewis, MBA, at 510-463-0333 x 210 for more information.

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Justine Lewis
3D Group
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