Performance Reviews…the New Way

I have seen companies where people have never received any type of formal coaching about their performance or focus. There is communication but nothing formal. Several years ago a senior manager told me, quite proudly, “I have been here twenty years and I have never been reviewed.” This is not a good sign. If he had a forum for getting and listening to feedback, his company would be even more successful.

Focus determines a company’s and organization’s success. The right focus! Being able to harness the collective will and energy of an organization and turn it into sustainable and directed activity makes the difference.

We use a tool that has been very useful called KeyneLink. Once a company’s strategic and yearly plan is in place, this software addresses how to keep top executives and key employees focused on the “right stuff.” It also addresses what to do about performance reviews and appraisals.

Do not call them performance reviews. People do not like to be reviewed and appraised. They feel observed. So what is needed that would make a difference? Feedback, coaching and getting aligned with your manager is appreciated. So let’s create a process that does that. What works is a system that is clear to everyone and drives alignment. The following illuminates these elements:

1. Through the use of this software, the yearly corporate initiatives of the company are clearly outlined and defined. There is a page in which the foundation (mission, vision and yearly corporate initiatives) is outlined .

2. In another section of this software, the values of the company are articulated. Have values be behavioral. Yes, imagine the expectation that you actually walk the talk regarding the corporate values – THOSE THINGS ARE ALWAYS ON THE WALLS AND ON PLASTIC STATUES. They sound great– integrity, respect, honesty are always on the list. From my perspective, you are either living the values or you’re not. Have a way that the five to six values of the organization are relevant and that your behavior is viewed in terms that you are either operating consistently with them or not.

What happens when you are living them, so you say, and your “creepy” manager says you’re not? You talk. This is valuable – I need to listen to your view and you need to listen and deal with mine. Life is not neat – this is me, the sixty four year old bald guy talking. When issues are on the table and talked about, it is better than when they are hidden in the shadows or underneath the table. Who knows who is right? However that’s the beauty of the conversation and in conversation is strength. I celebrate that!

3. Back to the software – what is really cool is that employees have the opportunity to define their role in the organization. What they are responsible for is outlined in their voice and according to their understanding. Their manager is able to give feedback on their day- to- day activities and day- to- day accountabilities have been agreed upon. This is really cool!

4. Keynelink provides that goals for the year and milestones have been set. This again is truly brilliant. The employee has gotten to set these in his or her own voice . Again, management gives feedback and coaching. Alignment ensues and occurs. Poetry really. Goals all need to be aligned with corporate initiatives. I love it when a plan comes together.

5. A major focal point of this tool is to ensure that managers and employees talk six or more times a year about the employee’s performance and their relationship. HOW COOL IS THAT?? The software causes meetings to be set and emails from the system annoy everyone so that they happen. The system is persistent and yes, effective. Prior to the meeting, there is an assessment, which both manager and employee complete and once done, they can see each other’s assessment. With that, they come to the scheduled meeting.

6. Meet with your manager four to six times a year. IT’S TIME to assess and give feedback. One hopes that you want feedback from your manager and to hear their view. It is also understood that your manager can contribute to your performance and support you. If this is not so, there are other problems. Also the employee gets to give their view. Simple meetings every six to eight weeks for thirty minutes to an hour tops just covering how are we doing and where do we celebrate? No drama allowed – just the facts mam, only the facts.

7. After the meeting, the manager finalizes the score and everyone moves on, takes the learning and development and engages in moving the initiatives forward. Is life grand or what?

We have been utilizing Keynelink with our clients. I can attest that it has made a real difference in ensuring that manager and employee are on the same page. It also assures that everyone in the company is working on the overall initiatives.

The intention here is to stimulate your own thinking regarding performance management and coaching. Heck, you can do the above in a paper system – who needs software? However, do not tell Wayne, the founder and owner of Keynelink, that I said that and a web based electronic system is useful for a myriad of reasons.

Let us know your thoughts on this tirade and if you want to hear more about  Keynelink.

Here’s to a powerful 2018. Keep rocking the world and like my mother always said……….

Game on,

Bruce