Re-imagining the performance review…

At a recent conference I had the pleasure of listening to Ashley Goodall from Deloitte speak about how they are reinventing performance management and it struck me – why are more firms not doing this?

The premise of Goodall’s changes to the review process was that to fuel performance we first need to recognise it, and then truly see it, reliably. The challenge with this is naturally performance reviews are subjective, and if this is the case how do we generate reliable data, reliable information against which to measure performance?

Goodall’s response – look at what is happening in the best teams, the ones that are excelling, the ones with low turnover, the ones with higher productivity, as what we have truly been missing in the performance measurement paradigm is at the team level. In his words ‘we have missed teams in performance measurement, we do lots of individual stuff, and lots of organisational stuff’.

Think about your motivation, does it come from the actions you set following your traditional, staid review, a throwback to the days of mechanistic management techniques. I would suggest not. According to Goodall, in Deloitte the most powerful predictor of performance is when employees have the chance to use their skills every day. To you and I, as well as Deloitte’s employees, this means FULFILMENT! It trumps everything else.

From a motivation point of view fulfilment is closely followed by EXCITEMENT, being enthusiastic about the mission, and then ALIGNMENT, knowing what is expected of you. Given we want to make more teams like our best teams, if we look at what drives their performance and replicate these conditions then we might be going some way towards fuelling performance across other teams in the business.

So how do we do this? Goodall argues we should put all the data about the experiences and motivators of the team in the hands of the person who can do most about it – the team leaders! Their power to positively impact team productivity just by moving away from the past focussed feedback to forward focussed recognition has taken even Goodall by surprise in Deloitte where studies have shown increased engagement across all teams in the pilot.

He left us with a final thought ‘A career is doing your best work over and over again’. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all focus on what makes our best work our best work rather than the annual cycle of looking at what we didn’t do quite so well.

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