Some 360 Degree Feedback tools allow you to give a rating for how well someone performs and a rating for how important that area is.
This is better than just rating how well someone performs. The additional information helps the person receiving feedback to prioritize areas for improvement.
However, there is an even better solution! We can ask the person providing feedback to compare:
This achieves the same goals as having an Importance scale - an area with a high desired performance score is understood to be important.
But it goes further.
Asking for the current and desired performance actually gives us 3 pieces of information:
The current performance
The desired performance
The desired improvement
The final piece of information is the really important one!
Rather than presenting the person receiving feedback with a table showing both the performance rating and the importance rating, we can focus on just one value: the desired improvement.
Here's how it looks in our feedback reports:
With this clear view, it's much easier for the person receiving feedback to pick an area, or perhaps two or three, where they will focus their efforts.
And by picking just a few areas (rather than being distracted by the larger picture), they're likely to make a bigger impact.
This technique - comparing current and desired performance - has been used for decades by consultants under the slightly scary name of 'Gap analysis'. Consultants love it for the same reasons we do - it's really effective at helping people to prioritize the few areas that will need the most improvement.