WSJ: Yes, Everybody Hates Performance Reviews

This article, carried by Yahoo News from the Wall Street Journal succinctly  says something that usually goes unsaid. It goes unsaid for the same reason that “Only Nixon could go to China” – only someone who is heavily invested in the performance review system can dare to criticize it. This, in itself, is an indictment of a process built built around control and fear.

Deming called out the same message decades ago. And even managers who purport to agree immediately start making excuses and justifications for why performance reviews are necessary.

If the question to be answered was “How does this Team Member know he is succeeding each day?” rather than “How do we rank and compare the Team Members against one another?” what would be different about this process?


2 Replies to “WSJ: Yes, Everybody Hates Performance Reviews”

  1. “How does this Team Member know he is succeeding each day?” is one of those common known and little used ideas. I often explain this like a video game. While involved in a game you know in real time at every moment how you are doing – the power bar, # of lives left, etc…
    In a video game you donot recieve an performance review 3 months after the game.

    When people know what good work is daily they can adjust and do great work.

  2. The annual performance review is a batch system for feedback. Daily feedback is far better because it allows for immediate course correction.
    Performance reviews are necessary. Annual performance reviews are not.

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