Performance reviews don’t suck

April 23, 2010

A colleague sent me this article from the Wall Street Journal bashing — nay, ripping apart — performance reviews.

While Samuel A. Culbert dismisses this procedure adopted across all companies as a standard measure of employees’ skills/achievements/career trajectory, it’s hard for me to imagine the corporate world doing away with the idea altogether.

He says they’re subjective.

What isn’t?

Everything around us is — we define our own realities.

In a world of no absolute truths, every single thing is viewed through a lens of subjectivity.

While everyone may really hate performance reviews, per Culbert, I do think they serve a purpose. And having a set date helps, because there is no way in the rigmarole of everyday demands that daily reviews are possible.

An annual performance review is an opportunity for every individual to reassess their professional situation.

To reflect on the past year. Identify strengths and weaknesses. Passions and time sinks.

Projects well-done and those that got pushed over. Relationships forged.

And, to look forward. Set goals. Determine how you want to shape your future.

For me a performance review provides an opportunity to take stock of where I am, what I’m doing and what I want to learn more of.

It’s a yardstick.

A milemarker.

A tangible acknowledgment of work well done.

banana2 Performance reviews dont suck

Initially I found it hard to “gloat” about myself, but then I realized I was looking at it the wrong way.

It’s not about drafting something that says “I am the best” — it’s about asserting your worth.

Ensuring that you pat yourself on the back.

Whether somebody else does it or not, is another matter that I’ll let Culbert contend with. But you need to recognize your value first — only then can others follow suit.

It’s not about your manager — it’s about Y-O-U!

There are many different ways that performance reviews are conducted — but what’s most important is honestly reviewing your own performance.

And then juxtaposing it with your manager’s can be eye-opening.

Promotions, resignations, salary raises, demotions … maybe you’ll continue deriving satisfaction from your job or perhaps, you’ll leave to pursue that which makes you happy — whatever ensues, at least you’ll know you got something out of it.

You got to know yourself, your passion, your path a little better.

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9 Responses to Performance reviews don’t suck

  1. Shachi ThakkarNo Gravatar on April 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

    yeah i agree with what you say here…..we all need checkpoints in our life for these things, and annual review is one such checkpoint.

  2. Diane {createdbydianNo Gravatar on April 24, 2010 at 3:54 am

    stopping by from sits!
    Great article, it’s always helpful when others point out what sometimes isn’t so obvious to ourselves.
    Have a great weekend!

    • DianeNo Gravatar on April 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm

      Very insightful post. Much more introspective than most and very well written. A good performance review is only meaningful if all parties involved see it as a form of professional development -and a two way street. In other words as a manager how can I do better to support my staff in doing a good job? Anyway, good blog. Drop by and visit me sometime. Happy Saturday Sharefest from SITS.

      • MansiNo Gravatar on April 24, 2010 at 11:15 pm

        Glad you agree, Diane. Thanks for your kind words. Appreciate your stopping by.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on April 24, 2010 at 11:41 pm

      Thanks, Diane. I stopped by your blog, too. Made me hungry (and motivated to spend more time in the kitchen) just looking at those absolutely delicious creations!

  3. VyankateshNo Gravatar on April 25, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Quite an interesting article. Had me hooked as it has come right in the middle of the appraisal cycle. Appreciate your viewpoint too. People like you would make a difference to the corporate world!!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on April 25, 2010 at 8:55 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Vyankatesh. Appreciate your kind words.

  4. Evaluate your manager | First Impressions on May 17, 2010 at 10:21 am

    […] my post “Performance Reviews Don’t Suck,” I had said that the annual tradition may be of great use to the individual concerned, […]

  5. OmarNo Gravatar on August 10, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Oh come on – people wake up. The whole idea of having a performance review has got to go. It’s an enormous time bomb disaster where no scientific evidence exists that doing performance reviews benefits American companies in the long run. We are slowly decaying as a thinning nation of companies. The 7 deadly diseases that the late quality guru Dr. Deming talks a great deal about clearly is not being addressed in America and beyond. Instead we often rush right into addressing only some of his points without a full consideration or a even a discussion regarding environmental conseqences. Performance reviews allows the boss to find people like themselves which results in making the company even more narrow minded. It seems people nowadays rarely meet together to cooperatively think out the change process and its consequences. Instead I see a pattern – it seems people everywhere are in a hurry to get back to their PC and hash out whatever simple billable oriented chores they set out to do. Perhaps we need to take a step back from our tasks and try to be more patient, open-minded, curious and attempt to comprehend what our systems might be indrectly doing (not dwell on who did what within the system). To do so we’ll also need to meet regularly and rebuild long term relationships with the people we frequently work with and be loyal to people doing the job. Be a helper not a judge. Today we live in an ever-evolving complex information age where it seems too many tasks are now being manually driven and not well integrated with other systems. We risk destroying years of relationship building by allowing oversimplication of complex situations be used to destroy people. Would you do that to your children? No, of course not. So people please just drop the act and do the right thing – drop this sick practice and move on by adopting the new philosophy.


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