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We live in a world of customization. From finding the best features and apps for our cell phones to selecting the toppings on our ice cream, we continually find ways to customize items to fit our individual needs.

It’s no different for the practice of leadership development, and according to recent research more companies are investing in management training.

The four areas where respondents suggested spending will have the most impact are: leadership and executive development, management accountability, interpersonal and organizational business skills, and aligning leaders with the business strategy, according to a rece.t poll by SMU Cox Executive Education.

With a renewed focus and investment in leadership development, companies want to make sure its employees receive measurable value from its 360 feedback process. If the organization is going to invest time and money implementing a 360, it needs to be confident that the survey measures what it is intended to.

As a result, customization is playing a bigger part in 360 Feedback.

Customization is important because every company has its own unique culture. Capturing the essence of an organization’s leadership framework is a critical step in creating a superior solution, which ultimately leads to employee buy-in and engagement.

The customization process includes looking at the organization’s unique culture, competencies, and values. With multiple sets of competencies, participants’ receive feedback targeted to their job responsibilities, which makes results more meaningful. It is critical to focus on the right competencies and customize the process to what is important and valued at the company.

Good measurement is crucial to change initiatives, and this is why customized surveys need to maintain reliability. Customized assessments must meet these basic criteria:

·They must yield operational relevance. The dimensions must make sense to all participants, and executives concerned. They must also demonstrate practical validity, meaning that scores on the instruments must relate to performance.

Otherwise, if the instruments have face validity only – acceptable because they look right – but have not been shown to relate to measured performance, then you have a problem justifying investments in your programs. If you do not have good assessments of performance, you should use instruments whose validity can be demonstrated on comparable jobs.

·They must be sufficiently reliable over time to assess any change resulting from your programs. If the measures are less reliable than necessary, any change can be mistakenly interpreted. Change may appear to take place when in fact, it does not; or conversely, good change programs may be evaluated negatively because real differences are unreliably measured.

Customized surveys that preserve overall reliability helps participants receive feedback that directly applies to their jobs as well as the organization. It shows the participants the importance of the process because of its connection to the organization and to their individual success.