Thoughts on Leadership is the brain child of Paul Bridle. This is the place that Paul shares his monthly thoughts.

Performance Reviews

Posted: February 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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One of the questions I regularly get asked about is how do you go about conducting an annual performance review?

Come on guys, its 2011, the start of a new decade.  Surely at this stage we should understand some basics about performance reviews.  I mean talking about an annual performance review puts us back in the 80’s, or maybe 90’s at the best!  You mean you just praise your people once a year?  Its like a sausage factory, people come in, you spend an hour with them, they go out and that’s it done for another year?

Performance review is an ongoing process.  It’s not a once a year, end of year event.

Secondly, lets just think about this whole thing.  One question is; who owns the review?  If the performance review is you reviewing the person, its like I’m doing something to you, which is completely different from; this is my part, which I own, but you also have a role in it with me.  Good leadership is about getting people to that point, the point where the individual owns their own performance review.

A few years ago, I came across an organization, which had four different ways of running their performance review system and the individual decided the approach to be taken.  In other words, ‘I own my own review and I have four ways of approaching it.  I involve my manager, my peers, my subordinates, my superiors; everybody I could relate to in different ways’.  And it wasn’t a once a year thing, it was an ongoing process.

So, the question is:

How do you conduct a good annual performance review?

  1. it’s not annual;
  2. make sure that the ownership of it is right.

Once you’ve got those two things correct then there are loads of books on the subject, giving you different ideas.

I’m going to give you a few questions to think about.  Questions that will help you think about whether you’re doing it right or not.

  • Your role as the leader, are you making sure that they (the individual) understands that it’s their responsibility to own their performance?
  • The moment they are relinquishing that responsibility to you, puts them in a position where they are not going to be getting the best out of the review.  More importantly they are subjugating themselves to you, rather than taking ownership for their own development and performance.  So what are you doing about that?
  • How are you working with your employees?
  • Are you providing the necessary training, to ensure they understand what is necessary so that they can take ownership for it?

Secondly, make sure that the individual understands what is important from you.  Your role in the process is to have agreed with them, at some stage, their targets and how they are to be measured:

  • How good are you at putting those criteria in place, so that the individual really does understand how they are to be measured?
  • Do they know what’s important, what they can benchmark themselves against and how to monitor progress?
  • Do they have fixed targets set along the way, which they are working towards?
  • So, the question is, have you agreed with them, those parameters, those targets, those goals and how they will measure their progress along the way?
  • Thirdly, is around measurement, possibly, the hardest to master.  How are they conducting that measurement and reporting it back to you?  Again, the measurement should be something that is owned by them.  If the performance review is owned by them, then the measurement should be owned by them.  As a result, what you want is them measuring themselves and reporting to you, not you measuring them.
  • How have you gone about ensuring that they own that measurement as well?

One of my favorite questions is; how do you know you are doing a good job, how do you know you are progressing?  That means that the person knows that information and that’s helping them perform at a higher level.

I hope those three points have really got you focusing on the process in terms of; who owns it and how you can get the best out of the process with the individual.


It has been an incredible year and we have worked on a lot of new projects.  I would like to highlight a few to you here; first is our collection of business case study DVDs.  They are meant to inspire your thinking and help you along with your business.  Go check them out at  More are planned for next year and some improvements to the existing ones based on what we have learnt this year.

We have also just released a new DVD entitled ‘The Principle of Balance’.  It is a 15 min DVD that explains the customers expectation of us and what we need to know if we are to operate effectively.  Go to; where there is a short trailer there for you to watch.

Finally, I would like to share with you a few new activities coming in 2011.  Starting in the first quarter of the new year we will be setting up two webinars a month which will have a presentation, and then a Q&A session with the presenter afterwards.  One will be industry specific for the meetings and events industry and the other will apply to business and leadership issues.  We will also be launching the new Business Planning Retreat Session designed to refocus you and your team on where your business is going in the future.

It’s been great chatting to you again this month.

I hope you have a really good month and we will catch you again next month.

We have loads of new things coming your way so watch this space.

Bye for now.


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