Here is an excerpt from an interview of Samuel Culbert by Ladan Nikravan in which he explains why companies should get rid of the performance review, eliminate the intimidation, change the politics, and hold the bosses accountable for making every employee a success. He asserts that traditional performance reviews are destroying employee morale and killing the bottom line.
To read the complete interview, check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to the TM and/or Chief Learning Officer magazines published by MedfiaTec, please click here.
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“Instead of improving performance, the annual review is robbing organizations of their most valuable asset — trust.”
Samuel Culbert, a professor at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of Get Rid of the Performance Review! How Companies Can Stop Intimidating, Start Managing — and Focus on What Really Matters, sat down with Talent Management magazine to explain how to give employees evaluations they can believe in instead of the fraudulent ones they currently receive.
What’s wrong with the annual pay and performance review?
It’s very simple — it doesn’t do anything it’s supposed to do. It’s supposed to be objective and tell employees what the company thinks about the employee, but performance reviews are not objective, and the evaluators are not objective. Studies show if you change the boss, the reviews change. That’s because the metrics they use for evaluating employees and scoring them don’t mean the same thing to different people. One manager’s team player is another boss’ conflict avoider. While we’re on the point of metrics, what does a 2.5 on listening skills mean? I don’t know. No one does.
The performance review puts a bat in the boss’ hand. It’s supposed to help employees improve, but the last thing an employee wants is to tell his or her boss what’s wrong and be forthright about a course of action in an area they would like to improve. What you don’t want are people pretending they have competencies and skills in areas they don’t have competencies and skills. But, with the performance review, you have to pretend. What we’ve got in companies, what we have in this world, are flawed, imperfect people. Get these imperfect people getting results for the company. That’s what you’re supposed to get results for.
The performance review puts pleasing the boss ahead of getting results for the company. It doesn’t determine pay. The market determines the pay.
Why do you think so many companies keep doing them?
It’s because of what performance reviews do accomplish. They allow bad managers to get away with bad behavior and never be called on it. They intimidate employees, and they keep them kind of quiet as a way of ensuring the boss’ definition of what the company needs and should have becomes the employee’s, but it’s as invalid as can be.
They rob companies of the most important, effective management tool a company could have, which is a trusting relationship. What you want with employees and their bosses is a way of remedying situations when things aren’t working out right and having an open and honest dialogue, and not to worry about whose job is what. What it is supposed to do is make it possible for the job to get done. What should be evaluated is the boss’ ability to make every employee working for him or her a success instead of worrying about each individual’s personality defects as defined by the boss
Why do they keep doing it?
They don’t know any better. They’re not even experimenting with other ways, and there are much better ways. It’s what people have always done and nobody wants to stick his or her neck out and get it done differently and try something saner. At one level, you also have to put a lot of the blame on the human resources department. What area of the company knows more about the mental anguish, the anxiety and the downtime created by performance reviews than human resources? They get all the stories. What group, what executive knows more about the fraudulence of what managers say about their employees? Human resources. They keep the files; they make sure nothing’s forgotten. This is an awfulness in companies, and the most bizarre fact is, it keeps going on, and the people who should be the idea leaders in fixing it, they’re just not doing their jobs.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
Ladan Nikravan is an associate editor at MediaTec Publishing.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by John Baldoni and featured by CNN online. to read the complete article, please click here.
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Leadership is a choice. Pure and simple
When you assume a position of authority, either formally as a manager or informally as a team leader, you make the choice to lead. Management is the discipline of getting things done right. Leadership is the art of doing what is right for good of the organization. In other words, management is execution; leadership is inspiration.
Inspiration emerges from purpose, knowing what you do and why you do it. Organizational purpose emerges from the vision, mission and values of an organization.
Apple is fine example of a purposeful organization. Its leadership under Steve Jobs at the helm was focused on producing well-designed products, easy to use as tools of productivity or means of entertainment. Everyone in Apple has been focused on this mission. You could say much the same about the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain. Everyone from top to bottom, and that includes maids and wait staff, knows how to deliver a superior guest experience.
Among the ways leaders instill purpose in an organization, according to research conducted my book, Lead With Purpose: Giving Your Organization a Reason to Believe in Itself, is through communicating the vision, tying customer benefits to employee contributions, and linking work to results.
Creating a purposeful organization is not easy. It takes the commitment of senior leaders who hold themselves accountable for delivering on the corporate mission. A fine example of this is Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies, a global IT services company headquartered in Delhi.
As Nayar wrote in his book, Employees First, Customers Second, “The role of the CEO is to enable people to excel, help them discover their own wisdom, engage themselves entirely in their work, and accept responsibility for making change.” Toward that end, Nayar regards himself as a servant of his organization one who holds himself accountable for putting individuals and teams into positions where they can excel.
Purpose is especially necessary in tough times. As Roger Webb, President of the University of Central Oklahoma, told me an in an interview: “If people don’t feel the purpose, and don’t feel the goal and [know] that they are accomplishing things and moving forward, then depressing news can really bring people down.”
While purpose is the spark that sets up the vision — where an organization is headed — and defines its mission, it becomes inert if not practiced. So a leader must “connect the dots” between what an employee does and why it matters to the organization.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
John Baldoni is a leadership educator, executive coach, speaker, and author of 10 books, including Lead by Example, The AMA Handbook of Leadership, Lead Your Boss and his latest, Lead With Purpose. You can check out a treasury of his work by clicking here
To watch a few of his videos, please click here.
How to free your organization from “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom”
The quotation in the title of this review is from Leading Change in which James O’Toole brilliantly explains why most of the resistance to change initiatives is cultural in nature. Over the years, Geoffrey Moore has written several books in which he explains how business leaders need to cross the chasm created by disruptive technologies, to survive inside a tornado of constant change, and to deal with a process of natural selection that eliminates many (most?) companies that defend the status quo (or at least their status quo) rather than escaping from its appealing but lethal limitations and insufficiencies. In his latest book, Moore suggests that there is some “hidden force” that is working against most companies’ efforts: “the pull of the past, most concretely embodied in [a company's] prior year’s operating plan.”
One especially significant result of that organizational vulnerability is that it precludes exposure to what Moore characterizes as “secular market change.” That is, a “not to be repeated” expansion of the market that occurs whenever a new category or a new class of customers is brought on board. That expansion “stands in contrast to cyclical growth, which refers to the ongoing returns from an established market, one in which the customers and the category remain the same and power shuttles here and there among various vendors and their latest offers. The key point here is, you can make a mistake with cyclical growth and still have plenty of chances to get yourself back in the game. That is not the case, however, with secular change.” Missing out on the opportunities it offers “is a disaster.”
Those who have read one or more of Moore’s previous books already know that he is a visionary pragmatist with exceptional analytical and writing skills. I think that Escape Velocity will prove to be his most important book thus far, given the timing of its appearance during an extended period of economic turbulence and organizational disruption. I agree with him that leaders must ask the right questions (please see Pages 10-11) and then obtain the correct answers to them. In order to free themselves and their organization from – and then remain free of — the “pull of the past,” they must formulate and then execute an escape-velocity strategy. How? Focus on three separate but interdependent initiatives:
1. Innovate sufficiently to achieve competitive separation in the domain of invention.
2. Institutionalize what achieves the separation so it can be scaled and sustain in the domain of deployment.
3. Drive the transition from invention to deployment to a tipping point “such that the world will go forward as newly aligned and not fall back into its old ways.”
Throughout his lively and eloquent narrative, Moore explains how to create, apply, and sustain four types of power and devotes a separate chapter to each: Category (i.e. reengineering portfolio management), Company (i.e. making asymmetrical bets), Market (i.e. capitalizing on markets in transition), Offer (i.e. breaking the ties that bind), and Execution (i.e. engineering the escape). It should be noted that, in the Introduction, Moore duly notes that under certain conditions, an established player’s standard operating procedure (e.g. operational gains from mature markets), “does not result, in and of itself, in bad economic results.” However, a key point, the “players” (be they new or established) do not sink “into a fixed legacy position.” Each adopted one or more of the 13 different models or frameworks that, Moore points out, are “nestled inside one or another level in the Hierarchy of Powers” he thoroughly examines in Chapters 2-6 and then reviews in the final chapter.
In my opinion, this is one of the most important business books published in recent years and its relevance will increase exponentially for years to come. Bravo!