Thursday, July 19, 2018

"Get rid of performance reviews"/ Susan Gubasta

Jan. 29, 2018 "It's time to get rid of performance reviews": Today I found this article by  Merge Gupta-Sunderji in the Globe and Mail:

Merge Gupta-Sunderji is a leadership speaker and consultant, as well as founder of Turning Managers Into Leaders.

Most employees look forward to the annual performance review the way they look forward to a root canal.

Feelings range from anxiety and angst to annoyance and anger.

Not that performance reviews are a thrill for managers. Typically, they involve hours of preparation, and the outcome is often an employee who is less engaged than before.

If you add the antiquated practice of forced ranking, the result is more people who are disillusioned, disconnected and demoralized than before you started.

Sure, the philosophy behind performance reviews is noble: By giving employees constructive feedback about their work, you encourage individual peak performance and build more effective teams.

Unfortunately, in many organizations today, reviews aren't really designed to help employees grow; they're designed to manage promotions and raises. The conversation tends to be more about "here is why you aren't getting a raise" and less about "here's how you can add value to the company and your career." 

In other words, they've become the opposite of what they were intended to be.

So are performance reviews obsolete? Is it time to ditch this archaic exercise, which takes up valuable staff hours with no apparent gain? The answer is a resounding "yes" – but only if you're willing to replace it with something far more worthwhile.

To develop your human capital, your emphasis needs to be on supporting and helping employees succeed, not on divvying up the budget for salary increases.

 Dialogues need to be more frequent, more focused on the future and on solving problems – and more collaborative. Enter the concept of weekly conversations.

Weekly conversations are planned 15-to-20-minute meetings between employees and direct managers. The emphasis is on progress and improvement, not criticism and finding faults.

Cover four areas. 

First, an update on the one to three action items agreed to at the last meeting. 

Second, one success story or "brag moment" of the employee's choosing. 

Third, brainstorm either a solution to a problem or an opportunity to be seized. 

And fourth, agree on one to three action items that the employee will focus on in the coming week.

Weekly conversations are not performance reviews; they are discussions. So talk less and let your employee talk more. Sit back, listen, ask questions for clarity. 

When it's your turn to speak, give positive feedback and offer constructive advice. Tell your employee what she did well and where you see opportunities for improvement. 

Specific examples are always helpful. If your employee is doing most of the talking – about her wins and challenges, how she's learning and growing – then you've mastered the notion of the weekly conversation.

Every three months, hold a quarterly conversation. Same basic structure as the weekly conversation, only this one is scheduled for 30 to 45 minutes. Go a little deeper on each of the four components, but add a fifth element – a discussion about the employee's career goals and aspirations, what she can do to achieve them and, perhaps more importantly, how you can help. 

Can you assign relevant work, offer training or open doors? When you help your people achieve their professional goals, the collateral benefits will accrue to you and your department.

Weekly and quarterly conversations are immensely successful with a vast majority of staff, but sooner or later every leader comes up against a poor performer. 

When that happens, a different approach is necessary. Performance reviews still aren't the answer. 

The solution: Put the problem employee on a performance improvement plan with specific achievable targets and deadlines.

Most people – employees and managers – view performance reviews as a time-wasting administrative burden. In contrast, weekly conversations achieve positive outcomes – engaged employees, greater clarity on roles and objectives, alignment toward organizational goals and increased commitment. 

When done consistently, they can be hugely motivating.

The time has come: Let's get rid of performance reviews and replace them with weekly conversations.

The Ladder: Susan Gubasta: Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail.  I usually find these articles to be just average.  However, this was optimistic:

Susan Gubasta, 50, is president and CEO of Mississauga Toyota in Mississauga. 

In April, 2018, she will become the first female president of TADA (Trillium Automobile Dealers Association) and in April, 2019, she will take over as president of the Canadian International AutoShow, in Toronto.

I was born and raised in Toronto, first-generation Canadian. My parents came from Yugoslavia after the [Second World] war. Both of their families came with nothing. They had one suitcase. And when they got off the boat in Montreal to take their train to Toronto the government gave them $5 and said, "Get going."

When I worked for my dad [at his dealership] for the first 14 years it was called slave labour. I say it to his face. He paid me 50 cents on the dollar. I had to earn my keep. Nothing gets handed to you. I had to work for it. It wasn't easy. I kept forging through because I thought if he could do it so can I.

The best piece of advice my dad ever gave me was "never give up." When you give up then you give in and the world stops. Your life stops. You got to keep fighting the fight. It's not easy. But never give up.

Life isn't easy. We get dealt the deck we get dealt. My brother raced cars and he was killed on the racetrack. It changes you and how you look at life. I thought his passing was going to kill our family because we were very close. 

But we became even closer. I thought we were going to be ripped to shreds because of it, but we made it through. You're never out the other side. You just learn to live with it. My brother had all of these trophies. We have a case [at the dealership] with all of his stuff in it. I don't want to hide it. He's a part of our lives forever.

Turning 50 has been a turning point for me in my life. With maturity you become more settled in yourself. You become gentler on yourself. You start to gather this wisdom. 

I was talking to a friend and I said I look at myself now and I really like who I am – to the point that I want to be my own friend. That just came out of my mouth! I stopped and went, "oh my God, I've never said that in my entire life." Fifty rocks! I love it!

My dad is 81 and still rides motorcycles. He's still a crazy person. It's just a number. Go with it. What you put into life is what you're going to get out. You don't fight it tooth and nail. Be who you are and don't worry about it.

Having a child is the best thing in the world, but it's also the hardest thing you will ever do because you live in guilt as a mom to try and find the balance. It takes a village to raise a child. I'm blessed to have my family around to help.

I've been in automotive 24 years and it's taken me 23 years to finally find the work-life balance. I can say that honestly. It's been up and down and sideways. I think I finally have it. I'm not perfect. But I have a very supportive husband and my son is at an age now where he gets it if mummy has to work.

What I have learned to get to where I am today is how to stop micromanaging. I had to allow my management team to do their job. When I realized that, my life opened up. You have to have confidence. 

They're going to disappoint you sometimes but you have to be willing to understand that they're going to screw up. You can't just beat them up because they did. There's going to be wins. There's going to be hardships.

It's important to remember the customer is always right. Do what's right for the guest and everything else will take care of itself. Make things right. It's a lot easier. 

If we make a mistake or we do something wrong, the first thing we do is apologize. We acknowledge that we fell short and we make it right. That's our mantra.

The biggest life lesson I've learned is listen to your inner voice. Listen to the messages that come through your head because there's a reason why you get these messages.

 I've learned to sit still, listen and you will get the answer.

Nothing keeps me up at night. I'm exhausted when I go to bed.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

"Am I entitled to severance if I don't take a contract role": Today I found this article by Doug Ewen and Natalie MacDonald in the Globe and Mail.  I couldn't copy and paste it because it was on Press Reader, so you have to click on the link:


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