Several months ago I suggested to my management team that we invite engagement team members to participate rather than assign them (Choices). At about the same time I suggested to our Director of Professional Personnel, Dr. Jeanne Yamamura, that we consider eliminating annual performance reviews.
Jeanne gave me that ‘ you must have a carbon monoxide leak in your office and you’re hallucinating’ look. She gave me ten reasons why we couldn’t quit doing annual performance reviews. In thirty years I’ve never won an argument with her, and she’s a PhD, so rather than argue I gave her a book. Abolishing Performance Appraisals by Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins.
We don’t do them anymore. Read the book and you’ll understand why. (Or if someone comments on this post, maybe Jeanne will post on this blog.) In place of annual performance appraisals we’ve implemented a system that is driven by the former ‘reviewee’ as opposed to the ‘reviewer’. Why would we do this? For the same reasons we changed the policy for forming our engagement teams outlined in a previous post ‘Choices’. While we will support your choices in every reasonable way possible, the success or failure of your career is your responsibility. It’s our attempt to take a step in eliminating micromanagement of our professional associates.
In a recent post titled Boredom, on her blog my good friend Michelle Golden related her thoughts on responsibility, and the importance that being responsible for yourself has for your personal growth. Yet it seems that, because we can’t give up control, we wrest responsibility away from those who it most effects at every opportunity in a quest to become more efficient, and therefore more profitable. Ironically this serves to make only one person or a small group responsible for all decisions, the welfare of each team member and the profitability of the enterprise. Does that make sense? Is autocracy more desirable and effective than democracy in business? Or is it just easier?