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Talent and Performance Development
Making sense of performance and talent development systems to create & sustain high performance in organizations. For the BEST of the BEST curated news in performance, change, agile learning, innovation, motivation, social media and careers, SUBSCRIBE to Reveln.com/Tools/
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Rescooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN from Metaglossia: The Translation World

Performance Appraisals, Numbers and Nuance. Behaviors and values matter.

Performance Appraisals, Numbers and Nuance.  Behaviors and values matter. | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

There’s a bogus belief that gets in managers’ way when they evaluate performance - deceptively quantifiable metrics.

... Consider a [...] job that seems to offer a deceptively quantifiable metric: the performance of a translator. How do you measure a translator's performance?

The obvious, easy, and wrong answer: the number of documents translated.    ... it takes no notice of what is genuinely important - the ability to capture nuance.


...translates each word accurately [or] ...captures what the writer really intended."


The ability isn't hard to evaluate accurately. Just take a document written in a foreign language and give it to two translators.   Then take their two translations to a native speaker and ask, "Which one got it right?"

The native speaker will read the two documents and then comfortably say, "This one translates each word accurately. But this one - this one captures what the writer really intended."

Photo credit: by WordShore via Flickr.com CC   

Via Charles Tiayon
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Assessment of performance includes clarifying what quality really means.  It isn't necessarily about volume in this example shows.  Would translators approve this measurement of this work?   Probably so.  ~  D

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Rescooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN from Innovation & Institutions, Will it Blend?

Replacing Performance Appraisal with Better Practices

Replacing Performance Appraisal with Better Practices | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

"The annual performance appraisal [does NOT] actually increase performance. So, what should replace them?  There are three strategic resources to replace the performance appraisal system:

  1. Key Predictive Indicators for Knowledge Workers
  2. The Manager’s Letter
  3. After-Action 

Better to be approximately relevant rather than precisely irrelevant.


Knowledge work is not defined by quantity, but quality; not by its costs, but results. The traditional tools of measurement need to be replaced by judgment. And there is a difference between a measurement and a judgment: a measurement requires only a scale; a judgment requires wisdom.


....So many leaders worry that if they get rid of objective measures, they will introduce subjective bias into the decision-making process. So what? To get rid of bias we would have to give up emotions and discernment, which is too high a price to pay. Neurologist Antonio Damasio has studied brain-damaged patients, demonstrating that without emotion it is impossible to make decisions.


Admittedly, the following KPIs raise rather than answer questions, but at least they raise the right questions. Better to be approximately relevant rather than precisely irrelevant. Enlightened organizations allow their team members to decide which of the following KPIs are most important to track and develop.

Related posts by Deb:


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is rich, practical post is also listed with "Innovation and Institutions"  since any organization that successfully dispenses with this deeply flawed practice is innovating indeed.  

So many leaders are reluctant to take this step under the guise of wanting to believe the metrics tied to appraisal are fully valid.  It's doubtful they are if subjective managers are making the call.   ~  Deb

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, June 15, 2013 3:42 PM

This is a wonderfully rich post on how to set forth good alternatives to this dreaded and deeply flawed practice.  It features how to get on the right path with "practical suggestion(s) to hold people accountable for their future contribution..."  ~  Deb

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, June 16, 2013 9:41 AM
From a Google+ post discussion with Vince: I think most metrics involving human beings are rife with subjectivity under the guise of objective measurement.

In my experience working with organizations designing their perf. mgmt. processes, there was a year that a business had minimal salary to distribute for the yearly program. They decided to do across the board increases with adjustments (those paid under a certain amount had a bigger increase.) They also, that year, completely severed the performance appraisal and salary link. Result: The performance review conversations completely changed. For the first time, staffers asked for additional time to complete the year end discussion, using it to really build understanding and plan for the year ahead (feed forward concept.)

If there was one business practice that would do much better, "resting in pieces," it would be performance "management."