I love reviews. I love giving them and I love getting them. Good reviews, reviews that are tough to hear, reviews overall are fun for me. Like most people, I want to see how I’m doing, where I have made progress, where I have room to grow. Someone once said that there shouldn’t be anything surprising in a review. No blindsides or “got you” moments. Just an extension of the conversation you have been having all year long. I’ve had staff members every year where this is their FIRST real review. They are typically out of college and it’s their first job as they start the 40-year journey toward retirement (already have my place picked out in Fiji). It all comes down to preparation to make sure we are giving the most clear, full and accurate picture of where a staff member is at and how to get them where you want them to go.
For my reviews with my staff I always lean in with some ground rules of our review meeting. This helps me in thinking over how I write the review, and helps them to have the freedom to push back and ask questions in a healthy frame word.
Here they are.
1) Everything thing I wrote on your review, or every numerical score I gave has a reason why. If you want an example just ask. I believe that if you are going to assess someone and quantify their contribution to an organization you should be able to give specifics. Providing specifics tells them you took this process seriously, it wasn’t just thrown together last minute.
2) If I scored you a 6 out of 9, the right question is what takes me from a 6 to a 9, and I’ll have an answer. When I look in the mirror sometimes I feel like I see 9s looking back at me only to realize I fell upside down and those 9s are really 6s. Well I want to aspire to 9s. The “what takes me from a 6 to a 9” type of question is key, it lets your people know what you’re looking for as a boss. Questioning also gives total clarity.
3) We are going to end with three developmental items that I will bring back out at our next mid-year review, if you have questions or are not clear just ask. Studies show 3 is the magic number to remember, anymore and you won’t be able to do it, it will just all get lost, 3 is key. Prepare what these 3 are and make it a mix of personal growth and responsibility execution. Make it short, clear and measurable. Then the burden falls to me to commit to checking in with that staff member through the year right up until the mid-year reviews.