The original intent of a performance assessment was sincere, inspiring, and productive. Unfortunately, over the years, the performance assessment has singlehandedly become one of the most hated tools ever created! It is discouraging if not damaging for employees and is the bane of existence for most people managers.
As leaders, we must strive to implement tools and processes into our businesses that boost personal development, productivity, and profitability rather than the opposite!
I have seen many different versions of performance assessments over the years. Some were effective, some were not, and some were simply demoralizing! I have seen some years where:
How many times have you seen corporate goals or objectives rolled out to an organization in a company-wide meeting? At first, the employees are all fired up, they clap exuberantly, and then they forget about them within 24 hours!
In another situation, the goals are presented in a vaguely worded poster attached to a company wide email. The employees speed read the email and promptly “file” it to the deleted bin . . . along with any memory of the goals.
Not setting business goals properly is a big mistake that renders them almost useless! Furthermore, when you do not properly communicate them, no matter how well you define them, they are doomed to failure!
I have seen this quite a few times over my career . . . The corporate poster gets rolled out with tons of flashy graphics, bullet points and 9-point font. It is an amazing work of art but there is no organizational buy-in and no accountability. In fact, the goals are usually “dumbed” down so that they look and sound good on the poster but they really mean nothing.
“We need team members to see their job as not just confined to their precise scope but to help the group around them or team get the best possible results” Atul Gawande
A strong business depends on people who can see beyond their own cubicle walls. What I mean by this is that a business depends on employees who understand how their actions impact the overall performance of the business. These employees have enough knowledge of the business that they can adjust their day to day work routines, deliverables and interactions so that they maximize value to the business at every occasion.
And, this applies to every employee at every level of the business from the cleaning staff to the board room!
Earlier in my career when I was a new project manager, I ran into an issue where project team members were taking actions that were good for their particular scope of work but they were not considering the impact on the project as a whole. They would take actions that would allow them to get their work done quickly and efficiently but it was causing significant work and rework for other project team members.