Killing Performance Reviews ???

I love these articles on scraping performance reviews… this one printed in Fast Company Magazine (link below).  I like the magazine for many reasons so my comments should not be construed as negatives against the magazine.

So I know I’m running the gauntlet of an old school leader, yet supporting performancemanager-leader reviews.  I can attest to the fact that I used reviews successfully over the course of nine different positions, in two corporations, and 13 countries. And all ages of participants liked the process.  My opinion is it is not the performance review process, or its relevance, that is at issue.  I believe it is the manager or leader who badly screws up the process that is the issue.  How? … not taking the time, bad time management skills, poor communications, not caring, unorganized, not focused on a team approach to getting the job done, and, the always classical, micro-manager.

In summary the Fast Company article notes that it is time to give up the annual performance review due to the needs of multi-generational organizations and replace the review process with the following.

  1. Give explicit instructions
  2. Conduct one-on-on check ins
  3. Have conversations about the employees future
  4. Use technology when it makes sense
  5. Practice the MBWA technique

I would suggest that the above list is part of traditional performance management, Career 1reviews, and sound leadership.  If managers can’t handle the traditional review process they will certainly screw up the above.  Again, to emphasize, it is not the process, it is the manager!

Here is my experience of what works:

Crystal clear communications are key:

  • Publish a schedule of for initial,  individual one-on-one’s with participants – ask them to submit a draft of their objectives for the year in advance — starts the process as a shared, two way partnership.
  • At the one-on-one, discuss and fine-tune the objectives for the year… follow the SMARTcareer 2 guidelines for meaningful objectives.  Stress that, the participant owns the objectives, your door is always open, and help is always available.  As well, help is available with dealing with barriers to getting it done.
  • Check in one-on-one’s — quick discussions unless the participant needs detailed help.
  • Encourage the participant to keep a running summary of related accomplishments so the year end review is easy.
  • Schedule, conduct the year end review with the participant submitting, in advance, objectives and accomplishments.
  • They’ll own it, like it, and the quality of the experience is solidly shouldered by the manager.
  • Hold career discussions separately… career path stuff is important to participants and it deserves focused attention.  It IS the managers/leaders job! About the greatest contribution you can make to those who work for you is to contribute to advancing their career!

When it goes bad, it is always the manager!  “Join a company, quit a boss”!

***** S&E *****


Log Entry no. 111 “Pine Boughs”

I always enjoyed seeing Thor at work.  Even, better, I enjoyed hearing of Thor’s’  boys at “work”.  More often than not one of his two male issues would have provided a great story for Thor to relate to his co-workers.  Some of the stories are humorous now but at the time created great stress for Thor!

StressThis one is one of Thor’s remembered experiences… if you see him just mention “pine boughs”

It is 8:30 Saturday morning and Thor heads out to one of his three cars, destined to the hardware store.  The last car in the drive is Thor’ 8 year old Honda Civic.  It featured broken mirrors inside and out, stains on the headliner (don’t ask), dash, and cloth seats.  Add to that a dent here and there and damaged paint.  Obviously the kids car and Thor knows his oldest son drove it last, getting home a hand full of hours ago, in the early morning.

Above all, Thor notes the several, very green, very noticeable pine boughs protruding from the front bumper and sides of the Civic.

Pine BoughsThor put his thoughts aside, drove to the hardware store, made his purchases and headed home, taking the other entrance into his housing development.  He entered and came to the first  intersection and stop sign in the development.  Before continuing down the street he glanced to his left.  Up the short cul-de-sac he observes a local police cruiser, with the cop standing in the homeowners front yard.  The cop and the homeowner are both looking at what remained of a couple of 5-6 foot pine trees and some minor lawn damage leading from the street through the yard.  And there sat Thor, a couple of houses away, in clear sight, with pine boughs jetting out of the bottom of the car.

Pine boughs!

Pine boughs 2Thor slammed the car in reverse, did a 360, exited the housing plan, and entered through the other entrance nearest his home.

Later,  Thor recalled his son being severely short-changed on monies due, by the very  same homeowner, after doing some lawn and shrubbery work at the very house where the two small pines formerly stood.

You never want to screw with the kids in your neighborhood.  They have endless ways of exacting revenge and pounds of flesh!

Thor’s first issue denied any knowledge of the pine boughs and suggested the boughs stuck in the undercarriage might be remnants of a recent hunting trip.

Sometimes if their lips are moving…..

***** S&E *****










***** S&E *****

Evaluating your HR leader (leader is used generically — not all managers are leaders)

Depending on the business, a lot can sit on the shoulders of an HR leader, not to mention the fact that the function touches and impacts the entire organization.  So much so that the incumbent needs to be a sophisticated manager and leader.

Elevator Speech ImageHere is a checklist you might use to check on the value of your Human Resources leader, or, use as a development list.  This can apply to other leaders as well.

  • Has partnered with other leaders, team player
  • Provides creative solutions while operating within company policy, standards and values
  • Full-time positive attitude and thinker
  • Displays managerial courage
  • Has benefited from relocations and promotions
  • Is widely respected, of infallible integrity
  • Skilled communicator
  • Is proactive
  • Has professional presence
  • Known as smart, adaptable, creative
  • Recognized as a career coach
  • Can be aggressive when needed
  • Has a seat at the leadership table
  • Uses metrics
  • Recruits, assesses, and develops talent
  • Seeks understanding of business drivers, finances, and customers
  • Is tech savvy, analytical
  • Performance driven
  • Has balance and judgment
  • Is sought out for advice and counsel
  • Respected by industry & business colleagues
  • Appreciates humor
  • Can move between strategic and tactical work
  • An implementer

Has built a knowledge base and business acumen commensurate with or exceeding what is required of the level of assignment or position.

***** S&E *****

Take an International Assignment

Why be interested, why do it? Accepting an international assignment (IA) can supercharge your career!  Here are a few reasons why…

  • Career advancement means competition… you will have a significant edgeIntl World
  • Know more about more — IA’s will round out your capabilities and value
  • Become familiar with other languages
  • Gain an appreciation and understanding of other cultures
  • Interact with the local citizens; make some international friends
  • Learn about another history
  • Become schooled in the complexity of international business
  • Give your “business acumen” a boost
  • Vastly expand your network
  • Become “worldly”

Intl flagsIf you have the slightest interest, make your desire known… the ol’ “squeaky wheel gets the grease”!  Also, make sure you have a balanced view, be honest with yourself, do a serious self-assessment … it is outrageously expensive to send a professional out as an expatriate… so there needs to be an overriding benefit to the company.  If you decide to pursue an overseas assignment it would be good if you are ready to explain your value-add as part of your request.

Behavioral Competencies are important to any successful international assignment (and domestic as well):  Integrity, Ethics, Adaptability, Flexibility, Analytical, Team Player, Judgment, Work Ethic, Humor, Smarts, Continuous Learning, Humility, Care about others, Professional Presence, to name a few.  Some others: Vision and Purpose, Intellectual Rigor, Leveraging Resources, Drive for Results, Managerial Courage, Strategic Thinking, Holding Self and Others Accountable, Developing and Motivating Others, Interpersonal Skills.  You don’t need them all.

Intl viewIf you would like another culture to accept you, plan on going with your “hat in your hand”  Notwithstanding your value add and contribution, always remember you are a visitor. You will be playing in some else’s sandbox. :>)

And, maybe even retire in a foreign country, I have friends that did.  I have an overriding influence in my life, or I would have done so as well, long ago.

Shanghai 1 nitghtThe following blog post speaks to the value of promotions that also feature relocation… it may not be for everyone but never underestimate the value to your career!

Valuing Relocation Opportunities

Go ahead, become worldly!

***** S&E *****

“I don’t have time to take vacation”

It was usual for a manager or professional (non-manager) to walk into the office for advice.  That was the job, giving “advice and direction” on a wide variety of subjects”.  And on some occasion the topic of vacation would surface.  And sometimes it was a positive conversation regaling how great the recent retreat was, and, on other occasions it was, “I don’t have time to take vacation”, or, “I’ll never get all my vacation in this year”, or, “I never take all my vacation”.

First off I would reference you to a recent posting on managing one’s time.  One of your “boxes” should be “vacation”  Looking for clarity…

On VacationThe boss or company will never come to you and suggest that you take vacation unless you are found sleeping at your workstation and in that event you might be given the vacation you do not want.  :<)

I started to list all the reasons why you should always see to it that you take time off and knowing that I would never come up with the all-inclusive list, and to make it easier, I went to the web  of course.

Here is a great reference as to “Why take vacation?

So, if you find yourself at the end of the business year with most of your vacation unused, it is not the company’s fault, which is a polite way of saying it is yours.

Make sure to take your vacation as seriously as you do your job!  It is important!

***** S&E *****

Looking for clarity…

Need a little organization?

… want to eliminate some confusion?  … at work, home, school?

… maybe achieve more?

Confusion in your life?  Mess on the desk?  Feel overwhelmed?

Just  seems like you can’t get anything done?

Take some quiet time; manage your space, do some planning:

  • If you have an office, close the door
  • A cube? Find a conference room
  • If neither? Use a library or coffee shop.

Put your stuff in boxes, mentally or actually draw them, label them. Use a notebook and “Post-its”, or, laptop and e-tools to display, organize, prioritize, and manage your Post its in notebookboxes.

Set some priorities, most important box to least important, some boxes may have to be addressed simultaneously, Some tasks on multiple days, so identify task, day(s), time and time allotted well.

Examples: Your “work” box may have 8 or 10 sub-boxes / projects; your home box maybe 5 or more, make a personal time box, maybe a “me box”. However, they are related by time — they share your time, just so many hours in a day/week/month.

There are planning tools out there on the web that can help you manage your stuff. Eisnhower-Matrix Setting PrioritiesConsider this popular matrix… it comes in many forms and is highly adaptable.

In a previous post,  I noted that organization chart structures are handy organization tools… that tool might be used here and is especially handy for prioritizing things.

Blank org chart,

One of the greatest culprits of disorganization or inefficiency is a perceived lack of time. Actually, there is always time! In many cases it can be a lack of time management skills.  The writer believes you don’t necessarily have to take a course / attend a seminar on the subject, although if it helps its worth the time (no pun intended). This blogger believes all you have to do is organize your stuff and follow Nike’s advice — “Just Do It”.  Commit to the time to make a plan, manage your time, allot time for each box,  and implement your plan, taking related actions to close out the tasks or work.  Lack of or poor implementation has been known as a cause of failed plans.

Clock Above all, one has to commit the time to make the plan!

Do not let anything short of an emergency or critical event get in your way, or disorganize your day and time. Interruptions and priorities can change your day of course, but if it happens too often, life/work/time may be managing you rather than the other way around.

For the record, a messy desk is not necessarily a sign of a disorganized owner; in some cases it might be the sign of a big-time “multi-tasker”, or, a disorganized owner.

***** S&E *****

“Secret Empires”

“Secret Empires” a book by Peter Schwiezer

I avoid political comments in this blog… but this one got the best of me!

The book can speak for itself.

Here’s an April 9, 2019 Washington Times analysis / opinion on the book “Secret Secret Empires CoverEmpires”.

I’m not buying the book; it will not change anything. And why aggravate yourself over stuff you can’t change. You say to me, “that is why we have elections, to change what we are unsatisfied with”. My response, “even if you elect 50 new congressional people, assuming they are all of the highest integrity and honesty, that is only a 10% change. The 10% is not going to change the 90%.

The only thing for certain is that “THEY”, for sure, will not change it.

Why would “THEY”?

I will continue to vote … hope springs eternal!

***** S&E *****