Wednesday 30 January 2013

Performance Management is an unnecessary evil - guest post by Derek Duncan

This is a guest post by Derek Duncan an accredited Mentor of the Enhancing Their Gifts System™ - the simple framework that profoundly unleashes employee talent.

Performance Management is an unnecessary evil.  Is this the dominant thinking in your organization?

It is in many organisations, where the annual performance review meeting is dreaded by both the employee receiving the review and the manager conducting the review.

Next to perhaps a layoff, a performance review is probably
 the least eagerly anticipated event in the office, both for the manager and the

Few find this a pleasurable experience nor feel that there is much benefit from the experience, so why not forget the whole thing?! Unfortunately HR require that I do this and my performance will be impacted if I don’t get it done.

Or maybe performance appraisals just get in the way of getting other things done? There are lots of other “things” I could be doing instead of spending time doing this (performance appraisal).

Most ignore the shortcomings of performance appraisals and suffer through it, but that’s hard to do once you realize how incredibly expensive the process is. In 1996, Frederick Nickols estimated the cost at just under $2,000 per employee.

This cost estimate is probably conservative as it didn’t take into account the up-front preparation time required. Even attributing a real cost to the process hasn’t encouraged managers to approach the process as diligently as they approach other business processes.

It’s not too difficult to find a long list of what is wrong with the performance review process and yet most companies still have a process, even if they think it’s not very good.

However, the vast majority, about eighty-five percent, report that their system is at least moderately effective. … Instead of wasting our time debating whether to eliminate performance appraisals, we should be talking about how to make them more effective.

The challenge is to make the process simpler, more effective and less intimidating for both participants.

The Enhancing Their Gifts System™(ETGS) approaches the problem of providing feedback to inspire improved performance from a different perspective – performance leadership.

Performance appraisal is important. It serves a vital and irreplaceable function… Every person that works for an organization wants the answer to two questions; (1) What do you expect of me? and (2) How am I doing at meeting your expectations?

ETGS inspires employees and managers to answer these questions in meaningful ways through a formal conversation every 90 days about what’s worth celebrating and what could be better. Outcomes of this conversation are translated into a performance possibility plan for the next 90 days.

The key however is the informal conversations about performance that happen every day using the individuals possibility plan as a reference point.  ETGS helps people to master the skills of candid conversations beginning with The Double A Technique that simply involves performance partners asking questions which act as a catalyst for honest and authentic discussion, not to make judgments nor rate the employee versus his/her peers.  Using The Double A Technique teaches people to appreciate others and to be accountable and over time eliminating the need for appraisal.

An important step in building the connection between the manager and employee is first to consider and agree with the employee’s personal objectives and demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in them.  Then consider the objectives of the business and how the employee can best contribute to their achievement.  This is what the what’s worth celebrating conversation and the performance possibility plan creation greatly assist in - building real and lasting connection between employee and manager and other performance partners.

Very soon the formal conversation every 90 days takes a few minutes and is an enjoyable and meaningful exchange because the employee, manager and other performance partners have continued to build rapport and relationship through their everyday informal conversations which of course develops the interconnectedness that builds personal commitment between people that drives improved performance.

The Problem with your Performance Review Feedback. Charles Jacob.  February 1, 2010. (
Top 50 Problems with Performance Appraisals. Dr John Sullivan. Jan 31, 2011 (
Performance Appraisals are Dead, Long Live Performance Management.  Edward E Lawler III. July 12, 2012. (
How to be good at performance appraisals. Dick Grote 2011 (page 11)
Changing What’s Normal (page 165), Ian Berry. 2011

Derek Duncan can be contacted on + 61 419 670 233.

Derek will be in the room and a part of the changing what's normal candid conversation with Helen Kerrison and myself about character and high performance at 8 pm Melbourne time on February 5th. 
Details here

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Creator of the Enhancing Their Gifts System - the simple framework that profoundly unleashes employee talent.
Easy to implement.
People focused.
ROI tangible, not just talk.

Experience the system first hand here.

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