Performance appraisal

Just the word does people shiver. There are so many things that can be wrong with performance appraisals that you don’t have to dig deep to find them. Just ask the first manager or supervisor or just a regular employee to get a whole story about what is wrong with it in general and with the system in their company specifically. It seems that not many people are happy about their performance appraisal system and the fancy elaborate computerized systems have not improved this much over the years.

The world without performance appraisal

Having worked for a company that did not actually have performance appraisals, I can say that the encouragement of regular discussions about how things are going is more powerful to increase productivity than any performance appraisal system I know.

Salary increases were not determined by the actual performance of the individual but determined by the market. If the market decides on average to raise the compensation for that job, then the individual would get a raise and if the market remained at the same level or even dropped, the individual would not progress, unless they were still young in the position and were growing to the full salary for the position.

It is difficult to capture this system in a simple blog post as I would not give the system behind it enough credit. Feel free to contact me if and when you are curious about this system. I can wholeheartedly recommend it and will be happy to discuss how to introduce the system in your organization.

New Year’s resolutions?

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions made? Lose weight, be more active, balance work/life? Things like that? Great, good for you and we hope you’ll accomplish them all.

Any point where you stop and review what you are doing and re-check your priorities is good. At your office, you should do the same. Take stock of what is on your plate, what is not moving forward and why not. I keep this easy spreadsheet that lists the topics/projects that need to be done. I have a column for what the result needs to be, a column for the status, a column for the obvious next step I should take and most importantly a column for why I am not taking that step,

That last column is crucial. You need to be aware of why it is that you don’t move the project forward. Often it has to do with fears for reactions from others, or resistance that you anticipate. Well here is the thing, unless you move, nothing moves and the project will continue to be stalled and you will continue to have to think about it and have it contribute to your workload and worries.

My recommendation is to make that list, review the columns and develop at least three strategies to take that next step. You’ll be glad you did!

Starting as a manager

manager at workWhen you are first appointed as a manager many things will come your way. New impressions, new relations, new responsibilities and new issues that you need to ponder and find solutions for. It makes a huge difference if you were already in the company and got promoted or that you were hired from outside. Both have their pros and cons. When you were internal you’ll have an easier time negotiating the company politics, when you come from outside it will be easier to be seen as a manager and not as “Joe who got a new position”. Much more can be said about this but my main point, as usual, is that you need goal clarity. The assignment needs to be crystal clear for you as manager, in order to be able to effectively lead your group.

The other important immediate issue is to find out what the social composition of the department or group is. Who hangs out with who, who has been here forever, who is the smartest person in the group, who has most experience. You need to know your resources.

Next you’ll have to find an effective way to communicate with the people; do they need meetings, are memos a thing, will emails be effective, is there a reporting system that helps the flow of work.

All great things to think about. The Fast company has a nice article about someone starting as a manager and the lessons learned in their first 30 days.

For me the goal clarity, getting to know the resources and finding an effective way to communicate would be the first focal points. You can read more about this in my book where I highlight the importance of many other points also.

Let me know what you struggled with in your first days as a manager. We’ll follow up over time with a summary.