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Performance Appraisal! – Agile management part 1

Do the yearly or semi- yearly event of Performance Appraisal embrace an agile mindset?

I believe not, Performance Appraisal is preventing the release of employees agile mindset. Maybe it’s due to the way managers act and handles the event of Performance Appraisal nor the Appraisal it self! Some thoughts on this:

1. Managers are making the goals for the employee, ensuring “….that the employee’s performance is supporting the company’s strategic aims“. Goals are cascading down from the company strategy often far away for the everyday work of a team member or even if it’s relevant it’s often non-measurable targets reliable on subjective opinions by the manager.

2. Performance Appraisal is used as a command and control tool for giving feedback from managers to an employee called 1:1 but really is a “1-way-dialog”. Feedback,forward perspective and such is not done by peers although it could be a collaborative event within teams. So instead of 1..1 relation performance appraisal we should strive for setting up a 1..many performance appraisal relation

3. Reflecting on your strength and capabilities in your work life is often depended on your managers feedback and communicated view of them. Performance appraisals support this pattern while the agile mindset would strive for the team as a hole or each individual in the team providing positive feedback and suggestions using explicating informal and/or formal channels for communicating it continuously to the person.
What to do? Maybe we could be more like Non-profit organizations while they focus on the employees gifts and capabilities – what will you as an individual like to contribute with as we together are reaching toward our shared goal?
Management must focus on seeing the potential, the qualities, the gift, what is brought into this team by you as an individual person. Management must encourage people to growth and learn new stuff. Management must stimulate all team members to challenge them self and others to try even if this means failing. Management must be prepared that people who try sometimes fail – and that’s a GOOD thing. Without failing we are not trying hard enough. We should walk on our toes reaching for higher learning and understanding – not staying on flat foot balancing easily.
The blog  post “Replacing the Performance Appraisal” by Ron Baker present 3 alternative ways of Performance Appraisals.
  1. Key Predictive Indicators for Knowledge Workers
  2. The Manager’s Letter
  3. After-Action Reviews

I’m very especially intrigued by the practical suggestion to hold people accountable for their future contribution is what Peter Drucker called The Manager’s Letter, as explained in John Flaherty’s book, Peter Drucker: Shaping the Managerial Mind:

[Setting objectives] …each of their subordinates write a “manager’s letter” twice a year. In this letter to his superior, each manager first defines the objectives of his superior’s job and of his own job as he sees them. He then sets down the performance standards that he believes are being applied to him. Next, he lists the things he must do himself to attain these goals––and the things within his own unit he considers the major obstacles. He lists the things his superior and the company do that help him and the things that hamper him. Finally, he outlines what he proposes to do during the next year to reach his goals. If his superior accepts this statement, the “manager’s letter” becomes the charter under which the manager operates.”

Note: Agile mindset is described in my post about fixed vs. agile mindset? 

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