Tuesday, September 19, 2017

As If We Needed Another Reason...

Even Marcus Buckingham admits it: we're horrible at assessing others. He's so convinced of this that his questions regarding engagement are focused on an individual's experience and not on what that individual thinks how others (read 'management') are or are not doing. His eight questions are grouped in 'We' and 'Me' categories. In fact, two questions, he claims, are greatly indicative of the person's experience and they're in the 'Me' category: 'Do I have clear expectations of my job?' and 'Am I using my strengths?' They're related to Purpose and Excellence, and that's how you motivate.

Well, sort of. But those are other blogs.

"We don't want feedback. What we want is attention...coaching attention," Buckingham says.

We know performance appraisals are fraught with biases. Most of the biases are generated by the reviewer, not the reviewee. At a recent leadership summit, Buckingham confirmed this by citing a study that shows 5/8 (62%) of the rating has nothing to do with the person being reviewed and everything to do with the rater ("I just don't give out any 5's and if my top performer is a 4 then all my other employees rate a 3 no matter how they compare to other department's employees" e.g.). Another 1/8 of the rating is measurement error (i.e. different raters wouldn't rate the same performance similarly nor would the same rater rate the same performance similarly). 1/12 (8%) is determined by the relationship between the reviewer and the person. The part that's actually related to the person's competency and performance? 1/12 (8%). But even greater is a general perception (angel, demon) of a person's performance (17%). That last component doesn't change...and won't change especially in 360 feedback from year-to-year. If you're a hero, you'll always be a hero. If you're a goat, you'll always be a goat. Note well all reviewees: 92% of your appraisal has nothing to do with your performance!

Yet almost all of us insist on maintaining and tweaking this overly flawed system. What's the definition of insanity?

A better system--"a year is 52 weekly sprints"--is frequently checking in (e.g. weekly, if not daily) on two questions:

  • What are your priorities?
  • How can I help?
If you search this blog, you'll find this is in keeping with our framework for employee engagement, especially the part about helping our teams make daily progress/improvement on their work.

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