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Letting Go: 6 Steps Beyond Industrial Age Performance Appraisals

Letting Go:  6 Steps Beyond Industrial Age Performance Appraisals | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

"It takes courage, tenacity and teamwork to let go of performance appraisal practices and industrial age thinking.  In our  post 9-11, post financial meltdown, "New Normal,"  business will never be as it was.  Can we let go?"


A1998 article about ending appraisals in favor of the APOP, the Annual Piece of Paper is one way to go.   Using an approach like the APOP or a two box annual conversation method, Meets [or Exceeds], Does not Meet, as mentioned in the video, is a step in the right direction. It is a form of incremental change, very similar to the Adobe Systems “check-ins” featured here in more detail.  Adobe’s 2012 system moved away from individualized ranking and ratings.  


The full post includes a short video that features asking a "beautiful question:      


Why are we doing things the way we’ve been doing them the past 20 years—what if we tried a whole new approach?      Thank you Warren Berger, author of “A Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas (2014)


It also covers why using Pass / Fail evaluation systems can help.


See the video and full post here.


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is my own video and post about performance review systems or appraisals.

The video embodies the D X V X F > R, change model, originally invented by Gleicher and popularized by Kathie Dannemiller.   The video covers assessing readiness, Dissatisfaction, the need to explain why make a change, the Vision, and First Steps to overcome Resistance to Change - along with our our Industrial Age / command and control, Theory X (McGregor) mindsets.  


A new path is emerging, but it is a slow path in business.  ~  Deb 

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, August 19, 12:59 PM

This is my own video and post about performance review systems or appraisals.  It  is embedded within change principles, which is why I've posted it here as well as in the Talent & Performance Development curation news.    The video embodies the D X V X F > R, change model, originally invented by Gleicher and popularized by Kathie Dannemiller.   The video covers assessing readiness, Dissatisfaction, the need to explain why make a change, the Vision, and First Steps to overcome Resistance to Change - along with our our Industrial Age / command and control, Theory X (McGregor) mindsets.  

A new path is emerging, but it is a slow path in business.  ~  Deb 

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No More Criticism, No Advice: Emotions Drive Achievement & Performance ~ Classic

No More Criticism, No Advice:  Emotions Drive Achievement & Performance ~ Classic | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

This classic article "Escape from the Red Zone" has very current ideas.  "Peter Naylor and Claire Crittenden have a revolutionary approach in their Seven Practices listed in this article about confronting the business world's last taboo: emotion."


Excerpts:


People are motivated by either "red" emotions -- anger, fear, greed -- or "green" emotions -- genuine enthusiasm and confidence. Either ...gets results. Yet one set of emotions ...slowly destroys people; the other can actually improve people's quality of life.


__________________________


Flattery, advice, criticism, and motivation rob workers of their freedom and ignore the...emotional current ...between manager and subordinate

__________________________


...All organizations in the contemporary world manipulate emotion, warp it, force it into the red zone...   A few, and only a few, are struggling to get well.


...Their alternative model for organizational life and the politics of emotion has simple ground rules:

  • No flattery. 
  • No advice. 
  • No criticism. 
    

...No telling people how to do their jobs -- outside of a genuine training environment. Never. At all. Period.

        

__________________________

   

Recognize achievement, let the numbers speak for themselves. 
   

__________________________


...Flattery, advice, criticism, and motivation rob workers of their freedom and ignore the essential emotional current that runs through encounters between manager and subordinate," Naylor says.   Nine times out of ten, that emotional current is red: a Molotov cocktail of anger and fear, grounded in feelings of subjugation.


_______________________
 

If you do this over a period of time -- design and validation -- people will be transformed."

_______________________



..."The problem is, people don't want to be responsible. But when you give advice, who now has the responsibility? Anyone here ever heard of empowerment? If you do this over a period of time -- design and validation -- people will be transformed."

    

Excerpts from the seven (7) practices that make it work:

    


1. Don't give advice, explore emotions.   ...ask, "How do you feel about this?" Keep asking it, adding only, "Gee, that's interesting, tell me more." ...Later it's appropriate to return to problem-solving mode -- even if it's only 15 minutes later.

    


2. Don't set goals; design outcomes.   Envision a "product" for every project, something tangible.   ....Clarify...product, the actions, the benefits. Get them down on paper.


     


3: Never criticize, only validate.   Do it on paper, in tangible, solid form. Recognize achievement, let the numbers speak for themselves. 

  


Source:   "Escape from the Red Zone" featuring Peter Naylor and Claire Crittenden by writer David E. Dorsey In Fast Company magazine.


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This classic article from the 1997 is worth a second look today.  The connection to brain science is very current.

I also think emotion and beliefs / the spiritual are both the last taboos in business  (belief / the spiritual via an example in  Theory U and Otto Scharmer.)   


I've also posted this piece on my Motivation curation stream.   It's relevant for anyone who has a work relationship with anyone else.

 ~  Deb

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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's curator insight, October 29, 2013 1:20 PM

This is a classic article from the 90's who time has come.  You've probably heard that all buying is emotional?   This article brings it into the heart of organizational, team and personal performance.  It's a revolutionary approach that needs a wider audience.  Hopefully, it will get one.   


I found the article because I had been searching for the "fire hydrants" story for awhile.  I remembered reading it in the 90s.  The trail led me back to find this FastTimes article.  ~  Deb

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A New Approach - Changing the Annual Performance Review

A New Approach - Changing the Annual Performance Review | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

Tired of the traditional annual performance review? Try this fresh approach focusing on delivering goals and great conversations." 


Excerpted key conversation points:

 

  1. The 3-5 Core Deliverables of the Role—...the bigger impact areas that the role makes on the department or business. For smaller companies...revenues, costs, customer satisfaction, or operational performance.
  2. The 3-5 Biggest Achievements—what ...made a difference, measurable.
  3. The 3-5 Personal Characteristics You Most Appreciate— elements of how someone performs that makes their work better...sense of humor, efficiency, cost-consciousness, loyalty, and directness are all examples of characteristics I have used in assessing this category.
  4. The 3-5 Goals for the the Company or Department—...a chance to discuss contributions that the person can make....support [or] direct role...connect the dots.
  5. The 3-5 Biggest Challenges Anticipated for the Next Period—Great brainstorming discussions....a great strategy and planning opportunity.


...You can conduct this conversation after an assignment, prior to a promotion or change in role, or even quarterly. However you decide to use it, I suggest you write it out first, then discuss it with your team members.


Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The disclaimer with this post shows the integrated nature of traditional appraisal systems:   "Some organizations are very particular about their review system, particularly when it is linked to compensation. ...HR ...may be reluctant to try a new ...process. ....discussion with them beforehand about which process works best for your business."


In my own experience with many different departmental review systems, I noticed the most interest, engagement and utility of a performance review came when compensation was delinked or reduced to a "soft" - dotted line - link.   ~  Deb

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Classic: How to Give Good Feedback, Beyond Appraisal

Classic:  How to Give Good Feedback, Beyond Appraisal | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

"...Human nature hasn't changed - few of us enjoy hearing about our shortcomings, and few of our bosses and colleagues look forward to describing them.


Part of the problem is that work itself has changed - it's more team- oriented, less individualistic. The tougher it is to measure individual performance, the tougher it is to evaluate it."

___________________________


The tougher it is to measure individual performance, the tougher it is to evaluate it."

___________________________


Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colorado ...explor[ed] how best to modify the hospital's existing checklist-based reviews: Which ratings made the most sense? Which scoring systems worked best? But no amount of tinkering satisfied Parkview's leaders.


Dorothy Gill, vice president of human resources, and a team of her colleagues explained their dilemma to the CEO: "He said, 'If there isn't a better way to do reviews, let's just stop doing them.' So we did. 


Gill and her colleagues eventually came up with an idea. It's called APOP, for Annual Piece of Paper. The most valuable kinds of feedback, they concluded, are the daily interactions between leaders and their people - interactions that can't be captured on paper.


The hospital still requires that managers do annual reviews. But instead of being top-down appraisals, the reviews are bottom-up requests for assistance: What can the leader do to make the employee's job easier? What gets in the way of accomplishing the job?


___________________________

There are no scores, no written goals for the next year....  the...process "takes performance reviews and turns them upside down." 

___________________________


And the medium for those reviews is conversation, not written evaluation. There is a form - the APOP. But its only role is to confirm that the conversations took place. There are no scores, no written goals for the next year.


It's literally a piece of paper, signed by the employee and the director, that records the date, place, and agenda of the meeting. The APOP process "takes performance reviews and turns them upside down," Gill says. "Directors don't tell employees how they're doing. They ask open-ended questions to see what will help employees do a better job."


photo: by felipe.cabrera, Flickr CC 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This is a classic article from way back, 1998, that is still fresh and current today on the topic, with many relevant business examples and practice tips.  


Parkview Medical Center is still around.  Hospital reviews are available via US News and World report.  They are placing as one of the top 11 hospitals in the state for several health practice areas.  ~  Deb

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Peer Performance Reviews - Reviewed

Peer Performance Reviews - Reviewed | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it
Some companies are doing away with traditional top-down, manager-led performance reviews and relying on the rank-and-file for employee evaluations.


The system provides more valuable information about each worker's performance than a review by just one person would, Mr. Garrity says. That's particularly true at Hearsay Social, because it has very few formal managers, most employees work across multiple teams, and leadership changes from project to project.


___________________

"We are decentralizing as much decision making as we can, so we also need to decentralize reviews..." 

___________________


"We are decentralizing as much decision making as we can, so we also need to decentralize reviews," says Steve Garrity, the chief technology officer.  at Hearsay Social Inc., a San Francisco-based social-media software company with some 90 employees.


But the process, which the firm plans to do twice a year, is also time-consuming and complicated, he says, and it may not work as the employee count grows. 


___________________


...crowdsourced feedback may not provide better data....feedback may gravitate toward positive and negative extremes...

___________________



...Crowdsourced evaluations go a step beyond traditional 360-degree reviews, which are generally more structured and often involve lengthy surveys.   


___________________


 "...Another potential downside is "rating fatigue" and lower quality information..."

___________________


But critics argue that crowdsourced feedback may not provide better data. Like online restaurant or product reviews, feedback may gravitate toward positive and negative extremes, says Tracy Maylett, chief executive of DecisionWise.   ...Another potential downside is "rating fatigue" and lower quality information, he adds.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Assessing the "why" of these processes are key.  For example, the goals of peer review may fit the type of work that happens in  team oriented cultures of a certain size.  360 feedback is also best for newer to mid-level managers, open to development.  ~  D

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Robin Martin's curator insight, July 15, 2013 9:30 PM

Just think of how productive and beneficial this could be for a small team. After all, no one knows more about a team member better than another member of the team! 

David Hain's curator insight, July 16, 2013 4:11 AM

Fascinating experiment - hope it works!

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Let's Invert the Performance Review

Let's Invert the Performance Review | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

"...even well-executed performance reviews are glaringly one-sided."


Performance reviews ...[are] ...a great opportunity to synchronize manager and employee expectations, jointly set goals, and evaluate progress toward those goals. If you're a manager and not doing these things, you might as well skip the review process -- and reconsider whether you're fit to be a manager.


But even well-executed performance reviews are glaringly one-sided. They review employee performance on terms set by their managers. Why don't we see the reverse: employees reviewing the performance of their managers?


...Invert the performance review. Make the primary focus upward rather than downward.


Reasons:

  1. It's usually harder to judge managerial performance than individual contribution. Individual contributions mostly have tangible, attributable results. In contrast, managerial performance is largely reflected in how the team perceives the manager.

  2. Managers are key reason that employees decide whether to stay at a company or quit. 

  3. Without a formal review process, it's easy for managers to not get meaningful feedback from their employees. 
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

I wish I had a nickel for every suggestion I've received over the years for upward performance review of managers.   It's an evergreen request only implemented, in a limited way, through multi-rater feedback.   Still, systemically, it's worth inclusion on this curation stream because


1) It's mentioned as an idea, seemingly new;


2) It's an article on LinkedIn, a large, professional network;


3) It makes the point about execution problems and 360 feedback;


4) It relates to team performance.  Managers are often connected to a team concept of all those needed to execute on a goal successfully, especially those who report to them;


5) I'm a big fan of any Dilbert comic on this topic.


Best, ~  Deb

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Sustaining Leadership Development: 7 Disciplines that Make it Work

Sustaining Leadership Development:  7 Disciplines that Make it Work | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

"What matters most is the impact of the leader's actions on others—not just the actions themselves or the rationale behind them." 

In the recent book,  Leadership Sustainability, (Pub. March 2013), authors Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood have defined seven leadership practices that instill sustainability:


Simplicity. Focus on what matters most. Tells stories with impact...

Time. Employees see what leaders do more than listen to what they say...

Accountability. Take personal responsibility for doing what you say you will do and hold others accountable as well. 

Resources. Get coaching and institutional support to become a better leader. 

Tracking. Measure what's important and not what's easy. Tie to consequences. 

Melioration. Master the principles of learning: to experiment frequently, to reflect always, to become resilient, to face failure, to not be calloused to success, and to improvise continually. 

Emotion. "Leaders who are emotionally vulnerable and transparent will be more likely to sustain change."


Read the full book review blog post by Leadership Now:  


http://www.leadershipnow.com/leadingblog/2013/06/seven_disciplines_that_make_le.html


Related posts by Deb:

   

     
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Dave Ulrich is well known in the top consulting circles and for incorporating Positive Organization Scholarship (POS) which is well represented by what he and his co-author include in their 7 top sustainability practices.  ~  Deb

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The Performance Preview, an Alternative to Performance Review

The Performance Preview, an Alternative to Performance Review | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

Management consultant and UCLA professor Samuel Culbert offers a solid alternatives to problematic performance review practices in his 2008 book “Get Rid of the Performance Review:” 


  • In chapters 7 and 8, I offer the alternative—the performance preview. It’s as simple and elegant as it is successful. It does all the things performance reviews are supposed to do but don’t. 
      
  • In the end you will see what many of you already know in your heart: that mainstream management is embedded in, and relies on, a culture of domination—and that the performance review is the biggest hammer management has. 
      
  • You will see how the review destroys our spirit, as well as our corporate performance. You will see how the same people who created this sorry mess have the power to undo it. And you will see that there is a way to fix it, if only we have the courage.
     

As always in our ScoopIt news, click on the photo, video or title to see the full Scooped post.

    

Related posts by Deb:

    

         

             

       
     

           

  • Are you local to SE Michigan?  Find out more about horse-guided leadership development sessions (no fee demos) for individuals by contacting Deb, after reviewing her coaching page here.  
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

"If only we have the courage," is a key observation by Culbert.

Risk-aversion, low courage, and avoidance is a malaise that can affect segements of, or even entire corporate cultures.  

Key points of Dr. Culbert's frank writings include:  

  • separating compensation from performance reviews, 
  • taking a look at the role of hierarchy to include that of a boss asking  “how can I help you achieve your best?” 
  • ending low value pratices like ranking and ratings.

     ~  Deb
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A History of Performance Appraisals, Letting Go - REVELN

"...provides a context for performance appraisals, ratings and reviews as very old ideas compared to organizational leadership pioneers and what's next.  Can we change our behaviorist-rooted habits?"


Performance management, defined in the 1970s, is rooted in scientific management. It is possible to acknowledge history, realize its impact on our business systems, and let go to embrace new strategies.


See the full blog post here:

    

A History of Performance Appraisals: Letting Go to Power New Culture


Related posts also by Deb:

   

     

      

 



Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This presentation is additional context for my MISHRM 2013 presentation on "From Chaos to Creative: Performance Development in a VUCA World" in Grand Rapids, Michigan, October 8th, 2013 | 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM   ~  Deb

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Performance Review: I'll try harder! I'll try smarter! Humor

Penny is under-performing at work. Typical Penny.  "About those lunch breaks,"  I don't think it's working out,"  "You've said this before."  

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

The script is classic.  It is well-known to managers and HR staff who are following progressive discipline.  So it is aboiut more than a peformance review, tongue in cheek, perhaps about highing younger and younger?  (You think?)

Besides the humor, it is about evidence and pattern, the script, and emotional sidetracks.   ~  Deb

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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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Crowdsource Your Performance Reviews

Crowdsource Your Performance Reviews | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

HR has lost confidence in the traditional review process. 


Forty-five (45%) percent of human resources (HR) leaders don't think annual performance reviews are an accurate appraisal for employees' work. And 42% don't think employees are rewarded fairly for their job performance.



HR has lost confidence in the traditional review process. Most people know that employees dread annual reviews, but when nearly half of HR professionals agree, it's clear we need a new approach to how employee performance is measured and evaluated.


______________________

A group of independently deciding individuals is more likely to make better decisions and more accurate observations than those of an individual.

______________________



...managers criticize the inflexibility and infrequency of a formal, forced process. It's an industry awakening to a system that is no longer effective on its own for the way companies and people are managed today.


For example, managers are tasked with using only their own observations and analysis to appraise employees, yet many don't have the tools to record pertinent events as they happen.


...Enter the wisdom of crowds — or crowdsourcing. A group of independently deciding individuals is more likely to make better decisions and more accurate observations than those of an individual.


Crowdsourcing, by leveraging social recognition data, is a better way for managers to collect, evaluate and share information on employee performance. In many leading organizations, it is already redefining performance management and transforming all of HR.


Why?


Recognition is something that comes naturally —...co-workers and peers can identify and reward desired behaviors and cultural attributes through unsolicited recognition, as they happen.


And unlike 360 degree reviews, which require ...provid[ing] a formal, forced review of an individual, crowdsourcing is inspired peer-to-peer performance feedback.


This stream of recognition...often appears in internal social newsfeeds, provides timely, measurable insights into your talent, top influencers and performers.



Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Note:  The suggestions in this piece work when the org. culture supports it - e.g. giving, learning, supportive, NOT competitive.   Crowdsourcing has downsides too, like becoming a popularity contest.


This is piece that reflects "pull" vs. "push" trends in performance work.  ~  Deb

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BPIWorld.com's curator insight, October 8, 8:15 AM

This is exactly the coaching process created and deployed by Best Practice Institute and its new product, skillrater.com

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Beyond Performance Management (40 Tools & Why?) Change, Lean, 6 Sigma & more

Beyond Performance Management (40 Tools & Why?) Change, Lean, 6 Sigma & more | Talent and Performance Development | Scoop.it

"Just 30 percent of these tools deliver as intended. Why?  ...They’re misused by most organizations."


As Jeremy Hope and Steve Player reveal in Beyond Performance Management, while many tools are sound in theory, they’re misused by most organizations. 

For example, executives buy and implement a tool without first asking,

  • "What problem are we trying to solve?” 

And they use tools to command and control frontline teams, not empower them—a serious and costly mistake.
 

Issue No. 251 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting highlights a new book from Harvard Business Review Press on how to select the right management tool—at the right time. The authors describe 40 tools in detail.
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

This helpful review highlights the framework that helps good and great performance happen with individuals, teams and in companies:  Choosing the best tools (and I'd add the best processes / change flow) at the right time to deliver right results.  

I bought the book and am reading it with great interest, as it is one of the few newer books that systemically look at  performance infrastructure.


This new book on the performance and talent management front seems to get it right including it's ambitious scope of trendy tools.   I'm reading it now and will share if it does or doesn't deliver.  ~  D

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Harry Cannon's curator insight, July 2, 2013 8:07 AM

Sounds like one to read. Certainly seen tools misunderstood and mis-used.

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, July 2, 2013 4:45 PM
I'm 1/3rd into this book and it is REALLY on target. Great resource. Thanks for the comments from Suchitra and Harry. I so agree with the "not doing may be smarter" based on a solid review of what the needs and problems are.
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, July 29, 2013 3:47 PM
Ok, I've about finished the book. It does contribute in many helpful ways to breaking out of industrial mindsets that hamper creativity, innovation and collaboration sorely needed in organizational thinking today. It is a helpful checklist for assessing blind spots and "keeping up with the joneses" when such "best practices" in corporate measurement and reporting are not necessary and, even worse, a drain on productivity. Highly recommended!
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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

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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."