Bob Schultek
Author of
The Gauntlet

With the year-end approaching, ’tis the season of performance evaluations.

Some organizations have abandoned the regimen of formal performance discussions, while others preserve a review process, often replacing annual discussions with quarterly or semi-annual ones.

Opinions and rationales vary about the value of these individual assessments. But in this age of perpetual change, with its organizational demands for greater agility, innovation and improvement, the case for observing some performance management protocol is compelling.

The primary objective for performance conversations in this churning market environment is less about grading an employee’s accomplishments and behaviors, and more about encouraging greater engagement to drive change that increases the value delivered to customers, and to the organization. If the deliverable from these dialogues is an impromptu, short-term set of actions, then the exercise wastes an intimate, meaningful moment when a leader’s influence and commitment can inspire an employee to invest the discretionary effort necessary for change to take root.

People deeply appreciate an opportunity to meet personally with their leader, to have that leader’s full attention focused exclusively on them, to discuss today and the future. In response, leaders who respect the trust being offered them, and want these conversations to be meaningful for both parties, appreciate the value of meeting more frequently during a year. They expect to emerge from each discussion with a personal, specific and strategic plan intended to accelerate an employee’s progress towards making a difference.

To help build such a plan, that closes the gap between now and tomorrow, these leaders manage the meeting to explore two key points with each individual they serve:

  1. Who they are. What do they believe, what do they fear, and what do they need?
  2. Who they can become. Which doors can be opened, how can their leader help support them, and what benefits will outweigh the sacrifices that may be required as they progress?

The insights gained from considering these two points make the performance discussion meaningful and productive for leader and employee, enabling it to serve as a catalyst for growth and change.

May you and your families have a joyful holiday season, and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019!

How do your performance discussions deepen employee engagement and collaboration?
How do you motivate individuals to drive change?