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Of all the dysfunctional systems in organizations, the top one on my list is the annual review!

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  – Albert Einstein

Here is the fundamental question, “Are you going to wait for a whole year to tell an employee how he or she is doing?” We persist in maintaining this practice, even though it is stressful and confrontational.

The experience is for compliance, and not for engagement.

There is no meaningful conversation.

There is stress on both sides.

There is typically little, if any, positive change, especially in the process itself.

We satisfy a human resources checklist, often to simply justify a person’s position.

There are other options that will satisfy compliance and produce meaningful results.

Here are some things that I know work in various situations and in various forms, as applied to each individual culture.

  • Don’t wait: begin with a conversation about desired outcomes.
  • Let the employee set goals for the next 12 months.
  • Break those goals into 30-day milestones.
  • Break those milestones into action items.
  • Create a check-in process to monitor progress.
  • Let the employee do a self-evaluation. Give feedback and support. Coach for improvement.
  • This builds relationship in a non-confrontational manner (coaching is nurture).
  • Share the individual goals with the team, the staff, or the department.
  • Transparency brings accountability and support.

This provides data to then support the annual report for the HR process.

We don’t often consider evaluating processes, as well as results. How we do things is the top place for your leadership skills to benefit the organization.

A leader is this:

  • A person who gets things done
  • A person who knows how things get done
  • A person who influences others
We tend to make things too difficult. Simplify the process.  Simplify your work. Simplify your life.
This applies to teams, as well as individuals. The team can evaluate their results, their process, and their skills gaps.
When these results are defined, your duty as leader is to allow others to function up, by not implementing the change alone. You are the leader and not the doer (translated as the “over-functioner”).
Here’s the routine:
  • Create a plan
  • Evaluate the plan on a regular schedule
  • Revise the plan, based on the evaluation
  • Recommit to the new plan
If you have a long-term strategic plan, then you will always have a long-term plan, if you follow this routine.
Now, you can devote the annual interview to different tasks such as these:
  • Review and compile trends from the ongoing goals conversations – develop standards
  • Focus on specific personal skills development
    • Team interaction
    • Relationship building (internal and external)
    • Career advancement – goals, skills, desires
    • Professional development – schedule and activate continuing education strategy
    • Overall effectiveness
    • Other items to do with the big picture and compliance
Change your paradigm and change your results.

Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist

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(c) 2012 Hugh Ballou. All rights reserved.


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