Print This Post Print This Post

It was just a little over a year that I wrote that annual Performance Management needed to be retired. I was, and I am, not alone in this thinking. I then gave 10 reasons.

I suppose that thousand of leaders in companies of some size have figured out this one for a long time. The process of the end of the year review is unsatisfactory but has remained untouched because:

  1. ‘Everybody’ does it
  2. It’s a ritual. Rituals have little or no efficacy (dancing around the fire, actually, does not produce rain) but are largely effective (dancing around the fire, actually, does not produce rain, but gathers all tribe members, reinforces beliefs in authority and, who knows, watch the weather forecast, it may even rain)

There are other reasons that I also discussed here, less than a year ago.

Leaving aside the ritual ( and this is going to be hard to get rid off; actually, we won’t, it will be taken over by another ritual), let’s focus on the first one: ‘everybody’ does it.

Well, big names are dropping the practice. (Attention, if you need social proof and validation by big names, keep reading)

General Electric, the greatest culprit of ‘forced ranking’ under Saint Jack Welsh, has said that enough is enough (I can hear Mr Welsh, inventor of the ‘It Depends’ flawed and dangerous School of Management, saying, well, it was needed then, but now, it’s different, because it depends). Gone are all those one-off jamborees, now replaced by ‘frequent feed back’. Since GE was at the core of the sanctification of the Bell Curve in HR, forcing everybody to fit into a deviation of the completely artificial, conceptually flawed, and unspoken fraud, normal distribution ‘of things’ (which main objective was to justify getting rid of the bottom 10%), I pray that GE also leads this movement of the silly once a year, unidirectional ‘lets see how you have done, Joe’ (unidirectional because it lacked the other 50%, ‘let’s see how you have done, boss’) and supports the new, on-going, pick the pace, forward looking, all things, all directions, performance management, and, by the way, yes, you can have as many spreadsheets as you want.

Deloitte, ah Deloitte!, did something that they do know well how to do: count. And they calculated that they were spending 2 million hours a year on ineffective rituals such as 360 degree feedback , once a year performance reviews and tsunami-style cascade of objectives (the ‘tsunami’ is mine). Now they have changed gears. So has Accenture, Adobe and others. You see? You want names? These are big.

I’m quite fond of the Adobe model: you (different parts of the organization) figure out how frequently you have to have a structured vehicle, if any. They have created ‘check ins’ when people themselves decide the checking and the scope.

The key of ‘appraising’ for me is building a picture. I often use the analogy of the family photo album. This page, the kids are in shorts by the beach; this one they have the school uniforms, grandparents come up in this one; the next one, the girl is getting a sports medal; next, everybody is skiing; next onwards there are no pictures of grandpa anymore, how come, oh well, he had a bad heart, etc. Your judgment of the family is the sum, the aggregate, the panoramic picture. Not one page. Not one time. Not one set.

Organizations need to follow the same principles as the family photo album and stop focusing on one off ‘measurements’

The time has come. Oh yes, apocalyptic as it sounds. Scrap that annual thing. It is an alibi for managerial laziness. It gets managers and leaders off the hook filing in questionnaires and ticking boxes, instead of having deep, continuous (continuos) conversations. I mean, continuous. You know, that thing called management.

Just do it.


Keep up with the Daily Thoughts

Twitter Email

Would you like to comment?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To search my website, please use the form below.

  Daily Thoughts

September 27th, 2023

Redefining Talent Wealth

The war on talent McKinsey consultants started it with a book of the same title. By focusing on what it […]

September 8th, 2023

What I Learnt From The Monks: A Little Anthropology Of Leadership And Space On One Page

My friends, monks of a Benedictine monastery in the Highlands, Scotland, spend most of the time in silence. I mean, […]

August 23rd, 2023

Can We Rescue DEI From Its Trap (The Label)?

Most of the problems and challenges in organizations, together with most of the solutions, are behavioural in nature. It’s about […]

August 10th, 2023

Restructuring to force collaboration, is likely to create more anxiety than collaboration. Structural solutions for behavioural problems hardly work.

Sometimes restructuring is done with the intention of solving a collaboration problem. ´A people´ don’t talk to ´B people´; if […]

July 18th, 2023

The ‘Impossible To Disagree With’ School Of Management

‘Good leaders have empathy, respect employees and set the example. If you want to change things, you need to have […]

June 29th, 2023

Large scale change is not small scale change repeated many times. Small wins repeated are lots of small wins.

Large scale change, as a series of cascading small scale interventions (often under the philosophy of ‘small wins’) has dominated […]

June 6th, 2023

Culture change is not long and difficult. But we make it so…

I suppose the question is how long is long and how difficult is difficult? In general, business and organizational consulting have […]

May 19th, 2023

Value is an overused term in business and, as such, it’s becoming meaningless

Value, as usually used, means transactional monetary value. Usually it doesn’t mean intrinsic value, or value per se. For example, […]

May 4th, 2023

The importance of ‘critical thinking.’ Your own critical thinking is more effective at making your workplace better than any generic employee survey.

Build your own Employee Engagement argument for free. You can’t go wrong. Here are three baskets full of concepts: Basket […]

April 21st, 2023

´Busy-Ness’ Is A Trap

I went to a big conference where I was introduced by the chairman like this: “Welcome everybody. Lovely to have […]

April 14th, 2023

Training and culture change. The love affair that ends in tears.

It seems to be very hard for people to get away from the idea that if we just put individuals […]

April 11th, 2023

Teamocracies and Networkracies have different citizens: in-Habitants in team-work, riders in net-work

The old view of the organization is something close to the old concept of a medieval city, where citizenship was […]

April 5th, 2023

3 Ways To Get Approval From Your CEO Or Your Leadership Team

Way number 1: My team has developed these three options, A, B and C. Which one do you want us […]

March 29th, 2023

A Cheat Sheet To Create A Social Movement Tip = to shape organizational culture since both are the same.

Mobilizing people. This is another of the Holy Grails (how many have I said we have?) in management. Whether you […]

March 16th, 2023

Critical Thinking Self-Test: A 10 Point Health Check For Your Organization And Yourself. If any of these are a good picture of your organization, you need to put ‘critical thinking’ in the water supply.

Test yourself, and your organization. Do any of these apply? Doing lots, too fast without thinking. High adrenaline, not sure […]

March 9th, 2023

A culture of safety or a culture of training in safety?

Cultures are created by behaviours becoming the norm. Safety is at the core of many industries. Significant budgets are allocated […]

March 2nd, 2023

Empowerment is an output. If you can visualize it, you can craft it.

The real question is, what do you want to see happening so that you can say ‘people are empowered’? Employee […]

February 24th, 2023

A simple question will jumpstart your organization into change. It will also save you from months of pain spent reorganizing your people and teams.

The following line will short-cut months of (building) ‘alignment’, integration, reorganization, team building, coalition building, and any situation in which Peter, […]

February 20th, 2023

Lead Via Peer-To-Peer Networks – If you don’t lead via peer-to-peer networks, you’re only driving your car in first gear.

Peer-to-peer work, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is the […]

February 7th, 2023

Write a script, not a strategic plan

If you care about the journey and the place, you need a story. If you have a good, compelling one, […]

January 26th, 2023

3 self-sabotaging mechanisms in organizations

Organizations, like organisms, have embedded mechanisms of survival, of growth and also of self-sabotage. These are 3 self-sabotage systems to […]

January 10th, 2023

Who should be involved in culture change? All inclusive versus going where the energy is.

Many times, in my consulting work, I find myself facing a dilemma: Do I involve many people on the client’s […]

December 23rd, 2022

Tell what won’t change – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

In any change programme that any organization wants to start, they will start by thinking of the things that they […]

December 16th, 2022

Scale It – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

When creating effective change in any organization, there are 40 rules that, in my experience, are the key between success […]

December 5th, 2022

Assets & Strengths Base – Introducing 1 of my 40 rules of change

For more than 30 years I have been involved in ‘change’ in organizations. Again and again, some fundamental principles, and often […]

November 25th, 2022

Campaign It… is 1 of my 40 rules of change

When you filter out the noise, when you try to extract the core, the fundamentals, those ‘universal rules’ of change […]

October 31st, 2022

Hybrid or not hybrid? That’s not the question…

Culture is the new workplace If you want to have a conversation about the future of work, the nature of […]

October 24th, 2022

‘Powered by Viral Change™’: A Social Transformation Platform for the organization of the 21st Century

When we started to work on Viral Change™, as a way to create large scale behavioural and cultural change, and […]

October 14th, 2022

Corporate tribes, intellectual ghettos and open window policies

We talk a lot about silos in organizations usually in the context of Business Units or divisions. But these are not […]

October 7th, 2022

Peer Networks are the strongest force of action inside the organization

Peer-to-peer works, transversal, spontaneous or not, collaboration, peer-to-peer influence, peer-to-peer activities of Viral Change™ champions or activists, all of this is […]