Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Root Cause of the 'Performance Review' Problem

As far as can be told, no one has found the performance review useful.  Now GE, Accenture, Deloitte, Adobe, Gap and many others are changing their approaches to reviewing performance.  Changes include (among others): conducting them more often, bringing more dialogue into the process, using apps, and implementing software-based programs.

The ineffective performance review is a symptom of a deeper issue – our individual-centric mindset.  For several understandable reasons, we lead our enterprises while holding a belief that our individuals (singularly or in teams) are at the center of what we are striving to accomplish.  One of those reasons is our (and most western economies) strong societal value of individualism.  It is not that individuals themselves are the issue.  Individuals are important.  The issue is our mindset that individuals are the center of our endeavor. 

Every enterprise is a living people system and the three living elements of that system are its customers, employees and leaders.  It is the connections of our customer-employee-leader system that need to hold center stage.  The more complete these connections are, the more successful we will be.  Our central focus needs to be the quality and extent to which our leaders and employees are delivering on our enterprise’s customer promise.  Effective performance depends on how well we are working together as a system to deliver on our promise to our customers. 

Effective “performance reviewing” occurs when we set customer promise delivery goals, build plans and timelines to accomplish these goals, continually monitor our progress, treat problems and failures as our problems and failures, treat successes as our successes, give people feedback designed to help goal-attainment, help one another to succeed, stay focused on what is working and not working, and celebrate accomplishments all along the way.  

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