Your performance reviews suck! Reason #3

I’ve just packed for a meditation retreat in Lake Taupo in New Zealand for a week. I am writing this on the plane, on the way there. We will be at the same place the whole time. It’s very casual. I just need warm clothes. There are laundry facilities. I don’t need much. My suitcase does not reflect this.

At the last minute I grabbed the biggest suitcase I had. (In my defence it will be really cold, so my clothes are puffier, and I needed a blanket, and oh I decided to pack my pillow to sleep well). I packed everything I could fit into it. I know from experience that I will use a quarter of the stuff I have packed. I will cart it around, with my frozen shoulder, which, from experience, will probably make it worse. Why do I do this to myself nearly every overseas trip? I think we do the same in our performance reviews. 

Mistake no. 3 – We cram too much into them. 

We cram as much as possible and end up doing ourselves, and the other person, harm in the process. What we need to take out of these reviews are the bigger, more challenging conversations. There’s not enough time to do these, in the allocated one hour. 

What happens is that we become so focused on the challenging conversation that we fail to use the review effectively, to theme up the issues from the past and reset the focus for the future. Tough conversations hijack the air time– making it harder for both the tough conversation and the review to be heard. 

Performance reviews need to be reviews on the themes of what we discussed the 6 months before. And agreement to where to focus for the future. Separate these from the tough conversations – they will be big and deserve their own space.

This works both ways too. We need to find space to have tough conversations to our people AND to our leader. That’s fair. 

That’s the feedback dance.

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