I am not sure who dreads a performance assessment more, the employee on the receiving end or the manager that has to prepare and deliver the assessment! I have seen assessments done many ways over the years and I have never found one that I really like.
I recently read Bob Lutz’s book Icons and Idiots: Straight Talk on Leadership after seeing him speak at a PMI breakfast in Calgary. The book is an interesting read full of stories and situations that Lutz worked through during his long career in the auto business. He has a lot of good leadership lessons buried in the book but the most interesting thing I got out of the book was the performance assessments that he provided for people he worked with and reported to.
The model is very simple, fits on one page and is easy to complete (download the Performance Assessment Excel template of this tool from the Business Tools page on this site). It does not involve complex psychological models and performance dimensions. It consists of the following 10 elements;