Thursday

The Annual Review

During my first face-to-face meeting with Peter Block, who influenced me greatly with his writing on stewardship, accountability, and empowerment, we got into a discussion of how best to judge the performance of subordinates. He told me he had once been an advocate of “annual reviews” in which the boss would meet with a subordinate and go over the previous year. One day, in a moment of reflection, Block imagined calling his wife into his office at home. “Sit down, honey. It’s time for your annual review.” The absurdity of this imaginary session prompted him to change his mind about reviews. He realized that the relationship between supervisor and subordinate should be closer to a partnership of equals. He suggested a process within organizations that starts with the subordinate doing an extensive self-review. The leader’s role in this approach is much diminished from that of the typical supervisor-led review. The boss becomes primarily a commentator, questioner, encourager, and, to a lesser extent, an evaluator.


I decided to try a variation of this approach with my senior team. Fourteen of us gathered at the home of one of the team members. One by one, each of us reviewed our own performance during the previous year. Most people outlined their successes, failures, and problems, as well as their goals for the year ahead. In nearly every case, four or five would offer a comment or question something the person had said. Sometimes they reinforced the person’s self-assessment; other times they suggested a problem or an accomplishment that had not been mentioned.


We held this type of session annually until I left the company. It became one of my favorite evenings with the senior team. There was not, of course, perfect honesty. Light did not shine on every issue. It was much too general for those who preferred specific quantifiable goals, but it was enormously valuable in other ways. It honored each individual as an important member of the team, regardless of title or status or compensation. It allowed us to show our respect for one another. It brought us closer together as a group. At the same time, I got a good sense of how people thought they had performed—and whether their self-assessments squared with the views of their colleagues.


I was a full participant in these discussions. I reviewed my own performance and chipped in comments about my colleagues. I took notes and afterward wrote a report summarizing the reviews. That report was submitted to the board of directors and to the compensation committee, which found it helpful when evaluating organizational changes and setting compensation. Doing annual reviews in a team setting was far more revealing and effective than having bosses do individual assessments of their subordinates. As Rob Lebow and Randy Spitzer wrote in Accountability: Freedom and Responsibility Without Control, “Too often, appraisal destroys human spirit and, in the span of a 30-minute meeting, can transform a vibrant, highly committed employee into a demoralized, indifferent wallflower who reads the want ads on the weekend. … They don’t work because most performance appraisal systems are a form of judgment and control.”


For too long, organizations have confused accountability with controls. My experience is that no one wants to be controlled but that most people want to know how well they performed. Keeping score is a central part of the competitive experience, and it plays a crucial role in making games enjoyable. It doesn’t seem to matter if the game is Hopscotch, Four Square, Horseshoes, Hearts, Boggle, or the World Cup, we keep score and care about the results. We may lose as often as we win, but at least we can measure our performance.


The key to Joy at Work is the freedom to make decisions that matter to the organization. The extensive self-review and team-based assessment is just one step to creating a fun workplace.

5 comments:

Marijke said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

Anonymous said...

ApellType [url=http://wiki.openqa.org/display/~buy-flomax-without-no-prescription-online]Buy Flomax without no prescription online[/url] [url=http://wiki.openqa.org/display/~buy-codeine-no-prescription-online]Buy Codeine no prescription online[/url]

Anonymous said...

[url=http://tinyurl.com/y9qxher][img]http://i069.radikal.ru/1001/35/75e72b218708.jpg[/img][/url]



Related keywords:
Tramadol ineffective
Tramadol pain management doctors
Tramadol prescription online
buy cheap Tramadol online no prescription
Tramadol online without presciption
Tramadol from mexico bring back
buy cheap generic Tramadol online without prescription
saturday delivery on Tramadol
[url=http://www.zazzle.com/AlexanderBlack]buy Tramadol free fedex shipping [/url]
[url=http://seobraincenter.ru]http://seobraincenter.ru[/url]
Tramadol med
buy Tramadol online cod no prescription
next day delivery Tramadol
Tramadol to purchase
Tramadol use in canines
aan agcode Tramadol
Tramadol dosing instructions

Anonymous said...

Service : Customer assistance was indeed ideal. Girl on the telephone had a good approach and My spouse and i acquired dollars quickly.
Value :My wife and i attained a terrific value given that payday advance rates turned out to be noticeably very competitive.
AAA Vancouver Payday Loans 310-4088 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2X8 (778) 785-2087 payday loans vancouver
AAA Calgary Payday Loans 1014 Macleod Trail Southeast, Calgary, AB T2G 2M7 (403) 614-4637 payday loans calgary
AAA Ottawa Payday Loans 503 Avenue Gladstone, Ottawa, ON K1R 5N9 (343) 883-1422 payday loans ottawa
AAA Edmonton Payday Loans 10223 97 Street Northwest, Edmonton, AB T5J 0L5 (780) 669-1284 payday loans edmonton