Performance Flaw #6: Not Enough Prep Time

In examining the flaws of traditional performance management, flaw #6 highlights the lack of prep time that spoils the review for everyone.  “I’ve got 18 performance reviews to get done and put into the system before the end of the day.  If you have a life threatening issue, call my mobile. Otherwise, I will talk to you when I finish this joyful task.”

The clock is ticking and you need to get your portion of the performance reviews complete.  Copy and paste the same answers for everyone? Seen that. Check the boxes, but don’t provide any comments?  Seen that.  Provide a blanket statement or two without concrete examples?  Seen that too.  I hate to sound cynical, but even the best review systems will render themselves less useful with less time.  I’m not suggesting you need to provide a full-day of time into each review, but managers who treat their reviews with importance, get follow up and success from their employees.  We, as employees, want to be held accountable.  We want to know that someone cares about our performance.

Have you ever worked for someone who can really run a good, productive and fun meeting?  Chances are they have some facilitation skills AND they prepare for the meeting.  This past year, I worked for a client that was routinely double and triple booked.  How can you possibly prepare for a meeting or a review in that environment?  You have to say no to the crazy making.  You need to track performance throughout the year and mark yourself out near the end of the year to focus on the process.  Excellent review systems will force succinct answers, saving you time; however, it can be difficult to say more with less.  I challenge you to write your employee reviews this year in less than 300 characters.  Use specific examples and consider the best the employee brings and their opportunity to make an even bigger difference next year.

What do I mean by getting specific:

A common response that may not be considered a Best Practice:

     “You promptly meet our deadlines. And are easy to work with.”

A better response (notice the specificity):

     “On an impossible timeline for the Boyd Aviation account, you promptly and thoroughly met their deadline; our clients and      colleagues really appreciate your dedication to making inevitable time crunches less aggravating because you’re respectful and cheerful of each person’s contribution to our company’s time-sensitive deliverables. (See extension of Boyd account in April under Revenue goals!)

A common response that may not be considered a Best Practice:

     “You bring new ideas to the table”

A better response (notice the specificity):

     “When TC Growth Guides had a problem, you provided 3 possible solutions and went so far as to create an idea for a YouTube video, sourced a helpful article from the newspaper and played out what the chance would look like in 6 months. Our client was thrilled to have new ideas to consider.”

If you hear nothing else, make the time to prepare for your discussion and your comments.  Treat the meeting like you would a guest coming to your house and I guarantee the outcomes will be more favorable.

See short videos designed to show you how to work with your highest and lowest performers on YouTube.

Blogging by J. Forrest