Performance Management – Again?
Blog Team

Performance Management – Again?

Performance Management – Again?

Scott Smith, June 16th, 2021

It is that time of year, time to do the annual performance review to make the Human Resource Department happy.  Many will begrudgingly go back and dig out outdated job descriptions and irrelevant goals that were set 12 months ago.  Others will send a blank form to their employees and have them fill it out for the manager to sign.  And others will hide from Human Resources for two or three months until the heat is off.  We have all lived it and understand that the exercise of doing a review at the end of the year is not creating value, but we do it anyway, sometimes.

This year, I encourage us to embrace a new mindset about performance management, a mindset that the practice of an annual review should be abolished unless it is coupled with value-creating principles of performance management.  A few valuable principles for your consideration:

  • A few important goals and expectations are collaboratively defined at the beginning of the cycle to align individual efforts towards what’s important for the department or company.
  • Simply performing tasks XYZ as outlined in your job duties is table stakes for continued employment.  Goals are about identifying changes one can affect that will yield improved results.
  • Reality happens, its called life or business.  What seems important today may be less important tomorrow based on new realities.  Conversely, something we don’t even know about today may become a top priority.  Goals must be flexible, reviewed, and updated regularly (monthly) to ensure consistent clarity about what’s most important. 
  • Development plans should focus on providing opportunities to develop the competencies, skills, or experience required to achieve the established goals or to prepare for future aspirations.  Training as a goal is not appropriate and should only be on a development plan if a lack of skill or knowledge is the barrier to performance.
  • At the end of a review period, an individual either meets, doesn’t meet, or exceeds expectations.  Anything more is too complicated.

As leaders and managers, we risk allowing the tyranny of the urgent to force us to lose sight that our businesses require us to deliver results and that this requirement demands the aligned efforts of the resources we lead.  If we don’t spend time establishing and maintaining clear goals for improvement, we don’t meet regularly to provide coaching and remove obstacles, and we don’t provide enriching growth experiences, then we are not effectively serving the long term needs of the business, we are just working hard. 

If we commit to the disciplines of effective performance management, we can achieve great things and the year-end performance review will be little more than a summary of accomplishments that you sign at the end of a great year.

For questions or more information pertaining to this article, please contact Scott Smith at or