Stop using performance reviews

By Ken Goldstein via tanveernaseer.com   Article

Why Leaders Need To Stop Using Performance Reviews

“I don’t like performance reviews. I never liked giving them, and I never liked getting them. They are like school report cards, only less well-meaning and more poorly formed. They make the workplace more political, needlessly enforcing nerve-wracking centers of power. They serve a legal function much more than a creative function. They don’t make products better and they don’t serve customer needs. They are obligatory, perfunctory, dreaded time sucks for both giver and receiver …

On the other hand, I love feedback – really good, thoughtful, useful, timely, focused feedback. I love to give it and I love to get it as part of a regular routine. No check boxes, no check marks.

Feedback, sometimes known as coaching, requires relevant substance to have impact. It needs to center on step by step improvement in how an individual is doing against goals, how a team is advancing by virtue of an individual’s progress, how innovation is being served by attitudes and decisions on a daily basis, and how an individual’s achievements are translated into outcomes valued by an employer. …

Here are three thumbnail cases against performance reviews that you should find terrifying.

Argument 1: Performance reviews can put off for up to a year what needs attention now

Performance reviews can be a passive-aggressive haven for managers afraid to lead in the present. You know something wrong is happening, and you know it’s going to be uncomfortable to deal with it. …

Argument 2: Performance reviews are largely clueless on the value of failure

… A performance review codifies failure ‘for the record’ as historical documentation of the negative case, and even where it might allude to the notion that learning has occurred, there’s something about those pieces of paper in our ‘permanent file’ that never sits quite right with us.

Talk with me as colleague, make me believe you embrace ‘mi fracaso es su fracaso’, and together we’ll put this learning to work. …

Argument 3: Performance reviews require a level of mentoring expertise few managers ever master

It’s really hard to explain to someone how they can learn from mistakes and get better at what they do.

I’m not saying it’s a little hard. It is one of the hardest things any of us are ever asked to do in a job function. Each time we blow it, we never get a chance to repair the enormous damage we create on top of whatever relatively minor damage has already been done.”

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