Reviewing performance only once a year is bordering on being insulting to employees. Remove performance anxiety for yourself and others by incorporating or asking for regular, constructive performance conversations in your every day work. Consistent, constructive feedback will ensure happier people. Happier people means better business, for everyone.
Making a Song and Dance of I
Falkirk Town Hall had a stage as big as a West End theatre. Or that’s how it felt to 5 year old me, dressed as a bumble bee, waiting in the wings to buzz on stage in the world famous (in Falkirk) Irene Langland’s dance extravaganza.
The song of choice was “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?” (which begs the question: why was I dressed as a bee?). Our routine was well rehearsed and we all knew the moves, including the showstopper where we turned our behinds to the audience and shook our “waggly tail” at our enthralled parents.
It was closing night and the stakes were high. Everything we had been doing was in preparation for this moment. We’d made all the rookie mistakes in the previous rehearsals and performances. Our dance teacher was certain that the mass of hyped, giggling, 5 year old girls were ready to make their mark on their town and leave the audience amazed, enthralled and begging for more.
There we were on stage, and it was all going according to plan. The audience were loving it, they couldn’t get enough!
Until this particular little doggy (dressed as a bumble bee) refused to budge at the crescendo of the performance and instead of turning her behind and waggling it, stood on stage, arms crossed, facing the audience. Dressing me as a bumble bee was one thing. Asking me to wag my non-existent tail was another altogether. As far as the dance teacher was concerned, I had failed her, my buddies, and myself. Maybe that’s why I gave up singing and dancing and took up roller skating instead.
Here in Australia it’s the time of year in business when all the dress rehearsals of the year culminate in the final performance: in the annual performance review, many organisations judge the talent and abilities of employees, and often their future success with the organisation on how well they perform in the review.
Most annual performance reviews are like school exams – largely useless and not a true measure of the input, talent or potential of the individual taking them.
How can you expect to measure the intelligence, innovation, creativity and potential of a human being by asking them to complete a form once a year, then sit in a room and justify why they deserve a pay rise, or in some cases, to keep their job (let’s not even talk about “performance management”)?
A Better Way
In an earlier blog I talked about the importance of being able to give REAL feedback, as well receive it. Formal, informal, structured and unstructured: constructive feedback is critical to our performance and engagement at work.
We are all leaders and managers of people, no matter what your title says. Which means there is always an opportunity to provide feedback, and indeed ask for it.
Performance is not something to be locked in a box and opened only once a year. Encourage your team, bosses and yourself to look at performance at work as an ongoing and evolving process, with regular, constructive feedback feeding the growth of that process.
Contrary to popular belief, life, and work, is ALWAYS a dress rehearsal. There is no such thing as the final performance. With the right director and stage crew to inspire and support us, we are always capable of a bigger, better and glitzier performance. tweet this
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