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Performance Preview instead of Performance Review

Performance Preview instead of Performance Review

Accenture had made global headline recently when they ditched traditional performance review process for an approach aimed at eliciting regular and meaningful performance feedback. Effectively, Accenture has joined progressive global companies, such as Adobe, Gap, Microsoft, etc, towards a more employee-centric performance management approach. This mindset change is immense, from both philosophical and execution standpoints. More organisations will follow suit. Until that day comes when your organisation embark on such an approach, what can you, as a people manager, do now to achieve meaningful performance review sessions? Here is a simple method.

The idea

Performance review is often a one-sided boss-administered/subordinate-received performance review. We know this leads to employee disengagement. In response, Samual A. Culbert, in his book “Get Rid of the Performance Review”, proposed replacing the traditional Performance Review with Performance Preview, a two-sided, reciprocally accountable dialogue that aims at eliciting what both boss and subordinate can and will do to achieve agreed goals together as a team. This performance preview approach essentially entails three steps:

  1. Agree on unit or team performance goals that are used as a yardstick in measuring not the subordinate, but the unit or team (i.e. manager and subordinate).
  2. Involve the skip level manager (i.e. boss of the manager) to monitor the progress of the boss/subordinate team, ensuring that the unit is achieving the goals the unit has set.
  3. Conduct regular performance previews by having manager to ask 3 questions:
  1. What are you getting from me (manager) that you find helpful and would like me to CONTINUE DOING?
  2. What are you getting from me (manager) that impedes your effectiveness and would like me to STOP DOING?
  3. What are you NOT getting from me (manager) that you think will enhance your effectiveness, and tell me what you would like me to START DOING?

The execution

The above progressive notion of a performance preview is of high leverage and impact for an organisation. It requires a mindset change and organisational change on how the traditional performance review is to be done. Not all organisations are ready for such a progressive approach.

As people managers, we do not have to wait for the sea of change to start having constructive feedback sessions with our own people. We can execute the Continue-Stop-Start feedback immediately and you be amazed how such a simple approach can bring positive change to your session. Here's some pointers you may want to consider as you execute this approach:

  • Give heads up. Prior to the review session, I would pre-empt my direct reports on how the session will be done and ask that my direct reports think through the areas that he/she would would like to highlight during this session.
  • Prep. I would prep myself for this session by drawing a 3 by 3 grid on a piece of paper, with Continue, Stop, Start as row headers and employee's name and mine as column headers. I would then put my initial thoughts on the grids with specific examples or incidents.
  • Be candid, constructive, and complete. The purpose of this 45-min session is to allow your direct reports to learn your expectations from them. Equally important, do allow time for your direct reports to give you their candid feedback on what they want you to Continue, Stop, and Start in order to support them better. To encourage your direct report with to come forth with candid feedback, do lead by example by being self-critical of your own behaviours and stay constructive throughout the session. 
  • Follow through. At the end of the session, both parties would have touched on several key issues. Agree on action steps, commit in having issues resolved, and book a time for you and your direct report to review the committed actions.

In a nutshell

Until the day comes when your organisation transforms how feedback can be elicited at every level of the organization systematically, people managers don’t have to wait to start having their review meetings done slightly differently to achieve this result. The above simple and effective Continue-Stop-Start feedback method is one means. Let's not wait. Let's engage our people now.

Managing Millennial Talent

Managing Millennial Talent

Interview Success Lies not in Tricks, but Flow