The Reflected Best Self Exercise is a breakthrough in gathering 360 feedback. AND in it’s purest form if you’re willing to do all the work (as suggested by Robert Quinn, Jane Dutton, and Gretchen Spreitzer of the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan) it is absolutely free!

The goal of the Reflected Best Self exercise is to generate awareness of how others see you when you are at your best, to enhance understanding about what kind of work situations bring out the best in you, to create personal and career development plans and actions, and to provide a tool for future times when you may be discouraged or need to get back on track. 

The Reflected Best Self Exercise is a four-step process that begins like a “normal” 360 assessment:

1.) Identify Your Respondents. 

Unlike a “normal” 360, the RBSE requires you to identify 10 to 20 people who know you well. It is suggested that you include a diverse group - not just co-workers, but family and friends. 

2.) Compose a Feedback Request Form or Letter.

The request needs to include the request for three examples of how you “add value” by completing the following statement three times:
One of the ways that you add value and make an important contributions is:
For example, I think of the time that:

3.) Analyze Your Results.

Read through all of your responses and look for themes. Make a three column table with the headers: Commonality/ Theme, Examples Given, and My Interpretation. Dump the data accordingly into your table. 

For example, one theme may be that you are highly organized. Examples might be organizing a recent workplace move, keeping meticulous medical records for your sick father in law, and being the person people go to when they need help clearing away clutter.  Your interpretation might be very simple, like “I am highly organized and valued for my ability to create order out of chaos.”

4.) Compose the Reflected Best Self Portrait.

The Reflected Best Self Portrait captures the themes and messages contained in your data. It should be no more than a single page, and can be used to help you remember how great you really are. 

For a full set of instructions you can visit the Ross School of Business Website here. 

In our consulting practice at Karlin Sloan & Company we’ve adapted components of the RBSE and use it when we do qualitative executive assessment. Remember - it’s very powerful to focus on what’s working, where your strengths are, and how you can build on the good, the true, the better and the possible! People who do this and other strengths based assessments tell us that it’s a breakthrough to look at leadership development from a positive (and not punitive) perspective, and that getting feedback that focuses us not just on our problems but on our strengths helps to build up those strengths. 

Another added benefit of this approach? The questions we ask in organizations shape the dialog in our organizations. If we ask about what’s wrong, we’ll focus people in that direction. If we ask for what’s right, we do the same. We can “broaden and build” the best of ourselves and our companies when we ask questions that focus on what’s working. We can build trust and confidence in leadership when we ask and answer positive questions about what’s going well. 

Thanks for reading, more soon about the STRENGTHS REVOLUTION!

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