Talent Management: Performance Appraisals are not Performance Management

Edward E Lawler III in a recent article (11 October, 2001; National Post; Page FP7; titled: ‘Learn to manage minus performance appraisals”) discusses the frequent problems that doing performance appraisals incur.

He notes that we do this “form” (sic) of performance management because of the lack of motivation, competence and  effectiveness in managers in “performing” this function more effectively.

He notes that ongoing, timely feedback and coaching is far more effective and meaningful to recipients than any annual formal process.

He proposes an interesting take on this subject: “it is to use performance appraisals as a way to improve the skills of managers so that performance appraisals eventually become unnecessary.”

So becoming skilled in ongoing forms of performance management provides the manager relief rom doing the formalized and bureaucratic forms of performance appraisals.

This is of course a classical form of negative reinforcement (improving performance by making one of the performance alternatives less appealing).

I would suggest an addition to this: make my own performance my priority.

As an employee, I often have considerable incentive to ensure I am on track and succeeding. So wouldn’t it be in my interest to seek out and receive useful performance feedback, coaching and goal setting input? (In fact I would argue that if I did not display this interest, the organization is well advised to see me leave).

This means that when I complete an assignment, I do the work associated with assessing how well I did and I then review this with my manager.

This provides practical and observable evidence for showing initiative and self awareness. These are often desirable competencies in many organizations. We often hear that these are tougher traits to develop, so we should recruit for them. I believe I have offered up an elegant means for embedding an ongoing self improvement practice that delivers on the outcomes of performance AND supports learning.

Have any of you adapted such a practice? What have your experiences been with doing so?


About 123stilllearning456

As a management consultant I am passionately interested in talent management and risk/uncertainty issues. In the area of talent management I propose that we seek strategies that look beyond the staffing/employee centric frames of reference. I have been frustrated at the "closing down on possibilities" by these more conventional staffing/employee centric approaches. I have been impressed where people have found systematic solutions to their talent management issues by going beyond the conventional approaches. In the area of risk and uncertainty, I am interested in making this topic relevant to more normal decision making situations. My conceptual foundation is to use the micro-economist's fixed/variable cost theme. I also think it is important to look at these issues for people through their emotional and psychological lens. As a premise I think risk and uncertainty only exist where there is a person who cares about possible events and its consequences. Hence, risk and uncertainty are social based concepts (no sentience, no risk and uncertainty). A major influence on my thinking in this area is Nassim Taleb of "Black Swan" fame. This BLOG provides me with an opportunity to express my thoughts on topics that interest me. As this is an online diary, content is more important to me than polish. I apologize if this distracts from readers' enjoyment and learning. Still I find this a useful way to live up to my namesake, learn more from others and hopefully provoke creative thoughts and ideas in others.
This entry was posted in Decison Making, Performance Management, Risk & Uncertainty, Talent Manangement. Bookmark the permalink.

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