Appraisal Systems LO22438

Brock Vodden (
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 22:40:35 -0400

Replying to LO22429 --


The question raised is whether appraisal of performance and performance
development can reside effectively in the same system.

My answer is that you can't improve your performance or help someone else
without some form of evaluation taking place. However - and this is a huge
however - the compatibility depends on what use is made of the evaluation
and the form that the appraisal takes.

In my view, the ONLY use of the evaluation should be to improve the
performance. If some sort of score is written down and placed in the
personnel file, that suggests that there is an extraneous purpose which
has no place in a purely developmental process. This is the kind of
internal conflict of purpose which causes most traditional performance
appraisal systems to fail. It reflects what John Gunkler was saying in his
insightful comments of this date. The excessive concern people show about
the forms we use for performance reviews usually means that they have
missed the whole point of performance management. Some of the best PM
systems I have seen, use no standardized forms, and put no documentation
in employee files.

If I am less than completely successful in a project, I should be able to
go talk to my immediate supervisor and point out what went wrong and have
an open discussion on what we can do to get back on track - without
concern that I am setting myself up for future disciplinary action, a
semi-permanent blemish on my career, one step towards a demotion, possible
piece of evidence in support of a future termination.

Only if I feel that I can be that open, will I be able to make good use of
the coaching and mentoring ability of my manager.

Brock Vodden - Vodden Consulting
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